Baja Culinary Fest at Cocina Que Canta

We hop in the little sprinter van waiting for us at the Mission Bay visitor Center.  There were two big tour buses as well, but somehow those filled up so fast we were left to the overflow vehicle.  Lucky us!  Turns out that we had quite a fun bunch of people along with us.  Sergio, one of the event organizers, provided a wealth of Baja food & wine knowledge and kept the front of van thoroughly entertained. In back, myself, and my good friend Adrianne were crammed in with two other crazy women, Tammy and Gail.  What a crack up those two were.

As we arrived in Tecate and wound through the streets, it was getting more crowded by the minute.  We were almost to the gate of La Cocina Que Canta, but first we had to get through the throngs heading in and out of Rancho La Puerta’s Dia de Los Muertos altar competition.  Wishing we could go see everyone’s amazing work, we passed by and quickly turned onto the cooking school’s property.  To say it was stunning is an understatement.


This property is an idyllic vision of what rural, rustic, Mexico might be like… in your dreams. Or a movie set. Its utterly perfect.  Set under a giant Mulberry tree, the beautiful kitchen gardens sprawl to all sides. Neat rows of lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, bok choy, and so much more. Colorful Zinnias are everywhere.

Set up in the middle of all this beauty were 15 of Mexico’s most talented female chefs and business owners.  In a male dominated industry, it was a breath of fresh air to see so many incredible ladies kicking ass and taking prisoners.  I managed to taste most of what was being offered.  There was so much, it was a little hard, but I rallied and got it done between running around and taking photos. Such a hard day’s work.



Chef Denise Roa
Executive Chef at Rancho La Puerta and La Cocina Que Canta. Features farm-to-table healthful spa cuisine.
Chef Maylin Chavez
A native of Tijuana and now chef/owner of Olympia Oyster Bar in Portland, Oregon.
Chef Bianca Castro-Cerio
Famous for her fine pastries at Biscotti’s Respostería Fina and a popular chef at many Baja culinary events.
Chef Daniela De la Puente
Runs La Cocina Secreta in Tijuana, B.C. This clandestine kitchen combines the artistry of experiential art design and haute cuisine in a secret location.
Chef Flor Franco
Culinary Director of the Berry Good Food Foundation in La Jolla, California, and VP of Les Dames d’Escoffier Int’l (LDEI), Mexico.
Chef Nancy León
Chan’s Cuisine and Chan’s Bistro, Tijuana. Features fresh, multi-diverse cuisine.
Chef Mariela Manzano
Chef at “El Lugar De Nos” in Tecate featuring eclectic dishes made with organic ingredients from local farms and ranches.
Chef Adria Montaño
Now developing “dandelion-vegetarian cuisine,” chef Adria was Chef de Cuisine at Misión 19 in Tijuana.
Chef Ofelia Núñez
Academic coordinator at Culinary Art School in Tijuana.
Chef Marisol Otaola
Passionate educator and mentor at the Culinary Art School in Tijuana since its founding in 2004.
Chef Christine F. Rivera
Chef de Cuisine at Chef Trey Foshee’s much-acclaimed
Galaxy Taco, a casual Mexican eatery in La Jolla.
Chef Ismene Venegas
Chef at El Pinar de 3 Mujeres, a Baja California country restaurant serving food under the pines with fine wines from the cellar.
Chef Reyna Venegas
Sous Chef at La Cocina Que Canta and co-founder of two acclaimed restaurants: Amores in Tecate, and La Mesa de Sol y Barro in Valley de Guadalupe.
Chef Maribel Sosa Villarreal
Master of French pastries and Provencal cuisine, Chef Villarreal opened popular L’abricot Brasserie et Pâtisserie Française in 2000.
Chef Denisse Zamudio
A masterful Chef who creates the delicate and divine desserts at La Patisserie in Tijuana, B.C.

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