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Chef Spotlight: Andrea Aliseda

Chef Spotlight: Andrea Aliseda

Born in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico and raised in San Diego, California, I consider myself a child of the border. My love for food came first through my stomach, savoring every morsel. And later it came through my hands, once I learned to cook when I went vegetarian at 15 years-old, making slimy mushrooms, burning rice, and messing up tofu. As a kid, I enjoyed eating and writing enormously. But it wasn’t until college that I would think to pair the two together, when my journalism professor told the newspaper production class to start a blog. After a slow shift working as a bartender/cook at a golf course, where I spent most of the day’s lulls watching food travel shows, like Anthony Bourdain’s (RIP), it clicked. Inspired to become a food writer I read Bourdain’s, ‘Kitchen Confidential’, as one does, started a food instagram, and decided if I was to write about food, I should have a better grasp on cooking. 

I took the plunge as a prep cook at a gay bar that served New American cuisine, spending my days marinating chicken wings and rolling pita bread, racing against the clock. I had given myself the assignment of collecting data, of learning to be able to speak from a place of experience and knowledge, from a distance––strictly as an observer. But instead, I found myself falling in love with the subject. Soon after I made the move to New York with my partner and our pup, with hopes of getting into the Natural Gourmet Institute. But when culinary school didn’t pan out, I continued to cook for work, and with a growing homesickness lurking, decided to learn more of my culture’s cuisine and veganize dishes at home. Cooking became a critical way to connect with my heritage. Also––I grew to love cooking simply because eating makes me happy, and as a people pleaser, I enjoy making others happy too. 

About a year into living in New York, I started figuring out how to pitch to magazines, and my food writing began. On the side, I did cooking demos, shared recipes online, sold orders of Mexican wedding cookies, and later began recipe developing for food magazines. I like to call myself a home cook and recipe developer instead of a chef, as someone who has been a self-and-community-taught cook (thank you YouTube, chefs, friends, lover). Currently, I’m working on a cookbook of plant-based Mexican cuisine coming out in 2024(!).

 

 

Check out her recipe for Chicory de la Olla

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