I think it was on the evening news KTVU when I first heard about La Cocina. The news featured the story of a local woman of Guanajuatan descent whom had recently and successfully graduated from the program. The restaurateur featured was Guadalupe of El Pípila in San Francisco.
Her story was not only uplifting but inspiring for foodies as well as for cooks around the San Francisco Bay Area and globally as well.
Immediately, I found myself headed for Google and doing my research on not only Guadalupe, but on La Cocina SF as well. And what I found was not only a project that had been rich and hearty for the last 10 years, but a certain light also went on for me personally.
I’m of Cuban descent and as a small girl at the age of nine, started cooking with my aunts in the kitchen. I learned firsthand how to make Cuban espresso. From then on it grew and grew and not only my passion for my Cuban heritage but my eagerness to share our culture, our music, our story and yes, our food!
I remember growing up in the San Francisco Mission district in mostly seen Mexican and Central American as well as Chinese American foods. There was one restaurant which belonged to our Cuban friends that we visited occasionally, El Cuba Restaurant which was located on 16th St. at South Van Ness. Sadly the restaurant closed in the late 80’s or early 90’s if I’m not mistaken. Later, Ana’s sister (previous owner of El Cuba), Mary, opened another Cuban Restaurant, this time on Valencia and 26th, it was known as El Cubané. Sadly this restaurant was not able to stay afloat as well. Why? The Cuban food (from the Oriente region), was also wonderful and to this day I have yet to taste a Paella as good as theirs!
For many years thereafter, several restaurants or cafés opened in the San Francisco Bay area attempting to feature Cuban food, sadly it just was a hit or miss.
Maybe it’s the fusion; maybe it’s the need to change the tradition to this cuisine? I’m not sure. Maybe I’m just being crazy and trying to bring Cuban food to the Bay Area is just impossible? I don’t think so!
So what did I do? I heard about their upcoming 10th anniversary gala and immediately contacted La Cocina to offer my services as a sponsoring photographer for the event. It was NO COINCIDENCE!
Once I was welcomed with open arms as a sponsor, I dug deeper, and learned that they were having an upcoming workshop for their entrepreneurs program, another coincidence? I don’t think so! I think the Gods are speaking and I need to listen!! So, guess what? Yes I signed up myself and my husband joined us as well for the workshop! We were happy to attended the two-hour introductory workshop last week and it was fabulous. Daniella and Michelle did a wonderful job in explaining the program to an almost 80 attendees (both in English and Spanish).
There’s a process and I’m currently in discovery to see if my life long dream of sharing the richness of my culture, my family and yes my food with the San Francisco Bay Area. I think we are ready for some Cuban food. What do YOU say? I would love to hear!
To see a sneak peek of last nite’s 10th Anniversary Gala for La Cocina hosted by Square HQ in San Francisco
Please click on the La Cocina Logo! of Click HERE
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