These Mexican Female Chefs are Taking the Culinary World by Storm

by | 6 May 2024

Mexican food – in all its incarnations – is delicious. From enchiladas covered in cheese to fiery huevos rancheros, there’s always something to tantalize the tongue in Mexican cuisine, whether it’s cooked in Guadalajara or a backstreet in Europe. But as with most Michelin-star-magnet cuisines, the Mexican food industry can be male-dominated. Here, we profile seven of the best Mexican female chefs you can support on your next trip.

Elena Reygadas



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Named the ‘World’s Best Female Chef 2023’ by The World’s 50 Best, Elena Reygadas spearheads the elegant Rosetta restaurant in Mexico City’s Colonia Roma neighborhood. The restaurant’s decor (think upcycled bohemian-chic mansion) is as appealing as the menu, which changes often – Reygadas, trained in New York and London, has a culinary philosophy that’s rooted in a deep respect for the seasonality of Mexican ingredients.

Though it changes often, there are a few favorites, including sweet potato tamales and tres leches cake.

Reygadas also owns a number of other outlets in Mexico City, and last year launched a scholarship aiming to help rural Mexican women launch their own cooking careers.

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Daniela Soto-Innes


In a sleepy Nayarit surf town sits one of Mexico’s hottest – and newest – restaurants. Previously a chef de cuisine in New York’s top establishments, the 33-year-old Mexican female chef Daniela Soto-Innes (winner of the World’s Best Female Chef 2019 award) opened Rubra inside the 5-star W Punta de Mita resort in 2023.

Rubra celebrates the traditional ingredients and agricultural methods of Soto-Innes’ home country: the menu centers around milpa, an ancient farming system whereby complimentary crops are grown around corn. Expect squash, beans and chillies cooked in a variety of creative ways, as well as top views of the sunset and the sea.

Gabriela Cámara



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If you ever took the Masterclass online course in Mexican cuisine, you’ll already know about Gabriela Cámara’s masa tortillas and fondness for all things Mexican hospitality. Cámara opened her first restaurant, Contramar, in Mexico City when she was just 22 in the 1990s – a time when misogyny in the pro kitchen was rife. She’s gone from strength to strength ever since, including appearing on TIME’s Most Influential People list 2020 and as an all-star contestant on the Netflix show Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend. Head to Contramar for an unbeatable selection of Mexican seafood, plus intricately-decorated desserts.

Martha Ortiz



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Renowned Mexican female chef Martha Ortiz has been shattering glass ceilings for decades. The chef, who has worked in some of the world’s finest hotel restaurants, first learned to cook from her mother, whom she calls her greatest inspiration: the mother-daughter pair have since co-authored cookbooks of the finest Mexican dishes.

Indigenous, hard-to-find Mexican ingredients such as pasille mixe black chillies are incorporated into her recipes, and Ortiz is known for playing with color – her ‘pink mole’ sauce recipe celebrates being a woman. Find it at Tuch de Luna, a restaurant inside the luxurious La Casa de Playa resort where Ortiz is currently the only female head chef.

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Margarita Carrillo Arronte

The best Mexican food is often not veggie-friendly, but the unstoppable Margarita Carrillo Arronte is on a mission to change that. The septuagenarian Mexican female chef – who has run several successful restaurants from Baja California to Tokyo, plus spearheaded menus for global events such as the G20 2012 summit in Cancun – released The Mexican Vegetarian Cookbook in 2022, revealing whole new layers to her home country’s home cooking. Many traditional Mexican dishes are actually plant-based by design, and Margarita’s acclaimed cookbook shows off the healthy, simple Mexican foods you can cook at home.

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Abigail Mendoza Ruiz

Hailing from the vibrant state of Oaxaca is the beloved Zapotec chef, Abigail Mendoza Ruiz. One of the best Mexican chefs there is, Mendoza Ruiz is the head cook at Restaurante Tlamanalli, which she runs with her two sisters. Unlike most internationally-renowned kitchens, the kitchen at Tlamanalli is homely and entirely open, allowing customers to see the Mendoza Ruiz sisters grinding maize and stirring up delicious mole sauces before their very eyes. Their work is dedicated strictly to Zapotec staples – expect to see squash flower soup and segueza de pollo (chicken breast in tomato and chilli sauce) written on the menu del día.

Karime López



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Of course, Mexican chefs don’t have to stay in Mexico to be brilliant. Triple Michelin-starred Karime López graced the kitchens of Noma in Copenhagen and RyuGin in Tokyo before landing in her current home, Florence’s Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura. López brings a Mexican flair with her wherever she goes, and prides herself on mixing culinary styles: the gorgeous Osteria mixes regional Italian ingredients with Mexican techniques to create delectable dishes such as purple corn tostadas with Adriatic-grown bonitos.

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Alice is a travel and history journalist, passionate about food, cultural connection, music and language. She specialises in Greece, a country she visited as a child and fell head over heels for. She speaks Greek and has travelled widely around the mainland and islands, but never stops wanting to see more of the incredible country – though she's curious about most other destinations, too. She has written for a number of travel publications, including Lonely Planet, National Geographic Traveller, Atlas Obscura, British Airways' High Life, The Independent, the i and Travel Weekly."