The renowned Oaxacan chef talks about her roots in the traditional cuisine of her homeland

My story with traditional cuisine began when I was a very young girl. I belong to a family of female cooks: I am the daughter, granddaughter, and niece of great cooks. All the women in my family are dedicated body and soul to the traditional cuisine of our hometown, San Mateo Yucutindoo. However, I decided to go to college to study culinary arts and incorporate an entrepreneurial point of view into the knowledge I inherited. My intention was not to stay in the community but to go out and open my own restaurant. 

After a journey that started in my hometown, continued in college, and in several restaurants where I worked, I opened Levadura de Olla at the age of 24. Today, we are about to celebrate our second anniversary. 

The essence of what we want to share since the beginning of Levadura de Olla is the warmth of feeling at home. We want our guests to feel comfortable and we want every dish to maintain the homemade taste. At the same time, we have a deep respect for the traditional ingredients, such as peppers, different maize varieties, tomatoes, and other native elements. A way to show this respect towards ingredients is by bringing them from the communities and avoiding products from monoculture or companies that do not have a true awareness regarding good agricultural practices. 

A traditional dish I really enjoy cooking is tamales. And I also enjoy eating them! My grandmother used to cook and sell tamales and I helped her as a kid, and this is where my love for this representative dish of my region and Mexico comes from. I also enjoy cooking with maize, but my favorite ingredient is tomato. If you take a look at our social networks, you will find plenty of images of this fruit, and we actually have a dish made exclusively with tomatoes, which has become very popular among the people who visit our restaurant. I even date to say that it has become a classic in Levadura de Olla.” 

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