Natalia Cocoma

Since the age of 7, I’ve been in the world of music, which I study at the National University of Colombia. At the age of 20, I had to take a break because of tendinitis. That’s when my hobby for cooking took a more serious turn. In my family, we’ve always been connected with nature. We have a business in beekeeping and vinegars, and I’ve always been interested in all these biology-related topics.

Being a musician has made me more sensitive, providing me with a unique perspective to appreciate composition in many aspects of cooking. I associate each ingredient not only by understanding its nature but also by appreciating the people behind them. We value and respect each product and its utility.

During that break, I started to research and cook more. My association with a seed bank here in Colombia helped me in the development of my passion. So, I decided to take different cooking courses in Ibagué and Bogotá. I began implementing my knowledge in haute cuisine, starting with pastry and gradually moving up to Sous Chef.

The chef who gave me the opportunity to be in this position believed in me. He liked my unique perspective and saw the potential for me to lead. He chose me to be in charge when he left. During the transition, we gradually added more women to the team, as I was the only one at the beginning.

The chef began to see the balance in the kitchen and what women brought to the profession. If we go beyond everything, even natural cycles are connected to women’s cycles, and I feel that we have a unique sensitivity that can contribute to the creative and leadership development of any kitchen. Beyond gender, in Oda we understand the mission of each person and how to collaborate for everyone’s growth. Each team member has a different story and career. Understanding our individual strengths and what we are passionate about makes us a better team.

Being the youngest kitchen in the list of Latam 50 best and having the youngest team fuels us every day. But beyond being for us, I feel that this is for Colombia, for each of our suppliers. For a country that has everything and is so complete.