“The majority of Guatemala’s gastronomy is managed by women, it’s a tradition – if you peek into any tortilleria you’ll always find the women doing the work, same thing in the homes – it’s something you grow up around if you’re from these parts of the world. Men only step into the kitchen when there aren’t women siblings or if they’re the eldest, or in the rare case that a boy’s interested in the craft; otherwise, mothers will look to daughters to teach them and the boys learn about farming and working the fields!

At the end of the day, it’s us women that carry local gastronomy, and yet not many women are interested in graduating from culinary school. In my class we were only two women; the men have always been more interested in professional gastronomy and diversifying into international techniques.

I, on the other hand, learned from my mother, and it wasn’t until 2012 that I decided to formally step into culinary school. I studied at CECAP, a non-profit organization with roots in maintaining traditional techniques while teaching young people to appreciate it, all while giving them a peek into international techniques to back it up. I learned from an amazing chef, and they showed us that there’s much more outside than what I used to eat at home growing up!

Eventually, I was asked to work here teaching the tourists. It was daunting at first because I had to do it in English, but I love being able to share my knowledge and our culinary culture.

I’m proud to be young but still speaking Mayan and being able to introduce our gastronomy and culture to the world! It’s not only about preserving the culture but about spreading its knowledge and inspiring others!”