“I’m Venezuelan with Peruvian roots. My parents are Peruvian, and they immigrated to Venezuela in the ’70s. I grew up in Caracas.

My connection to cooking came from my grandparents, especially my grandmothers.

I wasn’t interested in cooking at the beginning. When my grandmother came to live with us from Peru for a while, she would always insist that I watch her cook, saying “How would you know what to eat if you don’t know how to make it or how do you know if something tastes good if you don’t know how to do it right”? Her insistence slowly roped me in, and I learned how to eat well with her because my eating wasn’t the best before.

Still, my parents didn’t think cooking was more than a hobby, so I studied Chemistry at University. At one point, I connected with another Venezuelan I saw on TV who studied Physics because his parents also forced him, but what he always wanted to do was cook. That left a mark on me, and I decided to pursue my dream and study culinary after I graduated.

I studied culinary in Venezuela. I graduated; I went to Peru to live for a while to reconnect with my Peruvian roots. I worked in comedores, which are industrial kitchens that cook in large quantities.

I met Federico there. He was trying to make a project that was healthy and nice. When he moved to the US, I came too.

It was a big change. Working in a restaurant is a more delicate process. It required more finesse than I was used to working in the comedores, but it was a great learning experience.

My goal now is to focus on developing my pastry skills. I love pastries. Since I came from the rigidness of Chemistry, I went toward the kitchen, which is more taste and fix as you go. There came a point where I felt I needed the order Chemistry provided and pastry gave me that refuge.”