Latino Chefs in James Beard

11 Latino Chefs That Should've Been Nominated For The James Beard Awards

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, El Pollo Loco is beginning a campaign to highlight well-deserving, yet often underrecognized, Latino chefs. Food is a critical component of Latino culture, and Mexican food has become a favorite cuisine within the United States. However, despite the love for Mexican food within the U.S., Latino chefs are disproportionately under- recognized for their accomplishments in the food industry. Institutions such as Micheline and James Beard fail to award Latino chefs, even though there is such a strong presence within the restaurant business.

El Pollo Loco, a fast-service restaurant famous for its citrus-marinated, fire-grilled chicken, began in Mexico and continues to fight for the equality of Latinos within the food industry.

Image Credit: El Pollo Loco

Overlooked within the Industry

Latinos make up 30% of the restaurant and foodservice jobs in the United States, according to El Pollo Loco. Latino chefs make up 23% of the total chefs, and Latino restaurant owners make up 18% of total restaurant owners. Furthermore, 20% of line cooks are Hispanic. Yet despite such a strong presence within the industry, only 2.4% of nominees for the James Beard Award have been Latino. There have been zero Hispanic winners of the James Beard “Outstanding Chef Award” in nearly a decade. El Pollo Loco, honoring its strong tie to Mexico, strives to call out this disproportionate representation through actively campaigning in order to highlight the accomplishments of Latino chefs.


El Pollo Loco to Highlight 11 Latino Chefs

El Pollo Loco is looking to address the disparity in representation of Latino chefs, specifically the injustices done by the James Beard Foundation. The James Beard Award is seen by many as one of the highest awards a chef can earn. Each year, the foundation chooses five chefs to award. The objective of the James Beard Award is to “celebrate and support the people behind America’s food culture while pushing for new standards in the restaurant industry”.

El Pollo has chosen 11 chefs to highlight and promote through advertisements, social media, billboards, and so on in order to challenge the lack of representation within the James Beard Foundation.

Check out the Chefs Being Recognized:

● Nelson German (chef-owner of Oakland's Alamar Kitchen and Sobre Mesa)
Byron Gomez (executive chef of Aspen's 7908)
Maria Mazon (chef-owner of Tucson's BOCA Tacos)
Angelo Sosa (culinary director of Small Barn Temecula 
Manny Barella (head chef of Denver's Bellota)
Michael Diaz de Leon (chef de cuisine of Denver's BRUTO)
Danielle Duran-Zecca (chef-owner of Los Angeles' Amiga Amore)
● Crystal Espinoza (former chef of Los Angeles' Tiago Coffee)
Christina Galtman (executive chef of Los Angeles' Gogo's Tacos)
Eduardo Miguel Ruiz (co-founder of Los Angeles' Chicas Tacos)
Loreta Ruiz (chef-owner of Santa Ana's La Vegana Mexicana)

How to help this mission?

El Pollo Loco is asking their followers to help promote Latino chefs by posting, tagging, following, and shouting out those that deserve recognition. What better time to help Latino chefs gain the recognition they deserve than during Hispanic Heritage Month!


Leave a comment