Elisa

I come from a family with deep roots in the kitchen. Both of my grandmothers are indigenous. My paternal grandmother taught me all about dough, while my maternal grandmother taught me how to experiment with different herbs and spices, intense flavors, and how to add spiciness to a dish and have it not taste spicy.
Nearly all my family members are cooks. It’s considered a regular thing, especially in my heritage, where the woman is the one who cooks, and the men wait. It’s one of the reasons women experimented with flavors, to find different ways to make dishes taste better. There came the point where I knew which ceremony was being performed at home just by the scent of the spice.

When I left my country to come to the US, I arrived with my kids as a single mother. I thought I would get away from the kitchen. I graduated as a Business Administrator for the same reason, and I planned to find something in that field, but the first work opportunity was a job in pastry. Now, mind you, I could bake. You could ask me to bake any cake in Venezuela, and I could do it. But I don’t have a passion for baking. Funnily enough, one of the first things the Pastry Chef I worked with started talking about was chocolate, and I’m not too fond of chocolate. I don’t like the taste and smell. I could cook with it, but I don’t enjoy it.
She was an excellent Chef, though, and eventually, she was the one who presented me to the chef and the place I work now. It’s been four months, but I feel I have been here longer, and I genuinely love it. Working in the kitchen requires passion and love. This career demands a lot of sacrifice from you, mentally and physically.
You must genuinely, truly love it to wake up every day and do your job right.

People come from all over to try our food. The food carries the regional, individual touch each of us gives it. The reason I feel that comfortable here in this restaurant is that it feels like you’re walking into your grandmother’s house, and you go to sit down with her and drink a large bowl of soup or whatever food she’s preparing.