La Cocina Program Participants
Interviews can be coordinated with the following women entrepreneurs:
Owner: Azalina Eusope
Azalina was born in a tribal village in Malaysia — her parents grew spices including cinnamon, star anise, and cardamom in her backyard. She always loved cooking and ended up training as a chef. When Azalina moved to San Francisco, she began to reinvent some of her favorite dishes. So many of her friends loved the food that Azalina decided to start a business selling at the Alemany Farmers Market. A year later, she began the program at La Cocina. She just recently launched her own line of three traditional Malaysian simmer sauces, and has plans to expand her line in the future. Her current line of sauces can be found at Whole Foods in San Francisco Area. All curry simmer sauces are vegetarian allowing people to add the meat of choice, if desired.
Email:email@example.com Website: www.azalinas.com
Business: Chaac Mool
Owner: Luis and Maria de la Luz Vazquez
Chaac-Mool Yucatecan Food would love the opportunity to introduce you to traditional Mayan Cuisine. Luis Vazquez drew inspiration from the ancient god of rain to start the namesake company Chaac Mool. Vazquez, a fifth generation Yucatecan breadmaker, and his wife Maria formed the company six years ago in their small Tenderloin apartment. Chaac Mool is a family run business that serves regional Mexican, indigenous and Pre-Hispanic cuisine. The Vazqueses believe that there is more to Mexican food than burritos and uses their food to bring the legends, flavors and feelings of Mexico straight to you.
Currently, Chaac Mool can be found at: Dolores Park – Every day, 11-6PM , Fort Mason Center – Friday, 11-3PM, Off the Grid at Fort Mason – every Friday, 5-10PM, Mission Community Market – Thursday, 4-8PM
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: wwww.chaacmool.com
Owner: Isabel Caudillo
El Buen Comer is a family business, Isabel works with Juan Carlos her husband and three of her sons, Hansel, Charlie, and Vladimir to bring the most delicious, homestyle Mexican food to San Francisco.El Buen Comer is best known for authentic Mexican dishes made from scratch, using organic masa and hand-rolling enchiladas. At the heart of her menu are guisados, the staple of Mexico City homecooking. Slow-cooked, earthy sauces stewed with meat or a vegetable, they are served alongside rice and beans. Even the more familiar elements of the El Buen Comer menu — tacos and enchiladas — are made according to Mexican tradition, with meltingly soft shredded beef or chicken stewed slowly in Isabel’s signature green and red sauces. Isabel also serves a variety of other homestyle dishes, ranging from albondigas (savory meatballs in tomato sauce) to coditos con crema, a pasta and cream dish that has defined comfort food for generations of Mexicans. El Buen Comer is available for catering, and sells every Saturday at the Noe Valley Farmers Market from 8am to 1pm and at Heart every Sunday from 5 to 10PM.
Business Owner: Alicia Villanueva
In August of 2010, Alicia Villenueva came to La Cocina with a dream: to start her own tamale cart, as a means to spread her own Mexican traditions and customs. For Alicia, the best tamales are stuffed with love, and the best people are stuffed with her tamales. She’s been making delicious tamales for her family and friends for years, and finally decided that it was time to let the rest of the world in on her amazing food. Tamales los Mayas made its debut at the 2010 San Francisco Street Food Festival and Alicia’s spent the months since perfecting her business. Luckily for San Francisco tamale enthusiasts, Alicia will be stationed in her own Justin Herman Plaza food cart as of July 2011.
La Cocina Staff
Caleb Zigas, Executive Director
Caleb was accidentally hired as an assistant pastry chef at Ruppert’s Restaurant, in his hometown of Washington DC, when he was 16 years old, and hasn’t left the kitchen since. He has worked dish lines at national chains, service counters for independent butcher shops and front of the house for some of the best restaurants in the country (and some of the worst too). After graduating from the University of Michigan with degrees in English and Globalization and Culture, Caleb interned with ProMujer in El Alto Bolivia, learning about microfinance in its infancy and bringing those programming lessons to bear at La Cocina when it opened its doors in 2005.
Since joining La Cocina, Caleb has had a hand in shaping the incubator program as it has achieved national recognition. Caleb’s work on the program curriculum and social entrepreneurship innovation has been celebrated by the Hitachi Foundation when they named him a Yoshiyama Young Entrepreneur and by Inc. Magazine’s recognition as one of 5 Community Organizers making a difference. More recently, Caleb was behind La Cocina’s San Francisco Street Food Festival and Conference which ultimately led to involvement in the legislation changes that brought increased mobile vending opportunities to San Francisco. He has been named one of San Francisco’s Tastemakers by 7×7 Magazine, though he might be as proud that before that he was named Best Waiter in San Francisco. Bilingual, a trained diversity leader, HACCP Certified and a California Food Safety Manager, Caleb’s combination of food industry experience and commitment to social justice is what helps defines La Cocina, recently named 2011 Best Small Businesses by the San Francisco Bay Gardian.
Caleb brings a love of food and a passion for social justice to La Cocina and a belief that everyone deserves an opportunity to make a living doing what they love to do.
Contact: (415) 824-2729, ext. 304 Email: email@example.com
Margarita Rojas, Marketing and Communication Coordinator
Margarita provides technical assistance in the area of marketing to La Cocina’s program participants.
She facilitates access to market opportunities and assists them in launching and growing their food
businesses. Margarita is also responsible for La Cocina’s marketing and communications strategies.
Margarita grew up in Medellin, Colombia. She studied business administration from Eafit University in
Medellin and also holds a Master in Marketing from the same university. After working three years in
marketing and sales for the consumer package good industry in her hometown, she moved to San
Francisco and has been living in the city since then.
She is a strong believer in creating local sustainable businesses that benefit themselves and their community. She enjoys “homemade food” and traditional dishes and truly believes that people who create them haven’t been discovered yet and that they definitely will give an innovate taste on the food scene. She wants to spread the word by letting people of San Francisco discover these passionate and talented entrepreneurs that bring authentic food to United States. Margarita is convinced that one that once you taste it, the flavor will stay in your mouth forever. She brings a passion for marketing and food and believes that just like her, everyone should be doing what they love to do!
Contact:(415) 824-2729, ext. 305 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org