For the past ten years, La Cocina has cultivated a food event with quality comparable to expensive festivals but with the price tag of festivals that serve "foods on a stick." La Cocina’s executive director, Caleb Zigas, defined La Cocina San Fransisco Food Festival as such and further explained that the event is necessary in a business where systematic inequalities make it difficult or even impossible for the many talented women of color chefs to enter. Throughout our tour of the La Cocina San Fransisco Food Festival, the food itself was complimented by the numerous chefs’ stories and backgrounds.

Roasted Lamb on Homemade Corn Tortilla

Shalina Bulchandani

The buttery pieces of lamb were results of the hours of roasting by James Beard winner, Chef Rodney Scott. Scott came from South Carolina to collaborate with Chef Alma Rodrigues of Mixiote to create this savory taco. The fusion between the South and Mexico City created a savory taco that brought both smoke and freshness.

Jacked-up Hush Puppy With Remoulade Sauce

Shalina Bulchandani

“Do you know what makes these hush puppies jacked-up?” asked Chef Dionne Knox. Once we took a bite we understood that the hush puppies filled with corn, jalapeños, and jack cheese answered the question. The creamy yet tangy remoulade sauce elevated the dense and crispy bit.

Mango Gol Gusher

Shalina Bulchandani

This one-bite treat was a delicate bread stuffed with mango ice cream and tart apple, topped with cilantro and a tangy tamarind, ginger sauce. This tangy treat was co-designed by “ice cream engineer” Mads from Koolfi Creamery. For the past 25 years, Mads and her co-engineer Priti’s work have allowed them to be involved with and give back to the LGBTQ+ community, taking them to places like the White House during the Obama administration.

Chicken & Black Mole Tamale 

Shalina Bulchandani

Wrapped in banana leaves, this tamale is the work of Chef Rosa Martinez who immigrated to the U.S. from Oaxaca where she would sell tamales with her mother in her small town. Subtle moments of bitterness from the black mole were balanced by the sweet flavors coming from the masa's corn

“No immigrants, no spice” read a t-shirt sold in the vendor’s booth. Whether it was spice, smoke, or sauce, the chefs knew how to utilize their ingredients in order to create a dish that showed us who they were and where they come from. The eclectic group of attendees could be seen snapping shots of their food and having conversations about the skill and flavors of the dishes. The La Cocina San Fransisco Food Festival showed that there needs to be space in the food industry for the thousands of other women of color and immigrants to thrive.