Chef Cariño Cortez is a third-generation foodie who grew up in the restaurant business.Their family tradition began at Mi Tierra Café in San Antonio, but her passion for cooking has taken her across the country. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Accounting, Cortez pursued a culinary arts degree from the Culinary Institute of America to marry her business foundation on with her love of comida. Cortez spent her externship working in New York City three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Jean Georges, later going on to study authentic Mexican food in Chicago under Rick Bayless. At the Michelin-starred restaurant, Topolobampo, she worked as a lead line cook under Chef de Cuisine Andres Padilla, and was able to hone her culinary skills on the restaurant’s monthly menu development team. She returns to her home state of Texas to share her true passion for authentic Mexican cuisine and continue the family tradition as chef/general manager for the Cortez Family of Restaurant's newest addition to the San Antonio restaurant scene, Viva Villa Taquería. A profound care for food, family and culture inspired her custom menu creation and the evolutionary concept development for Viva Villa.
Featured in Edible San Antonio, 2015
Front Page, San Antonio Business Journal, 2015
Feature in the San Antonio Current, 2015
CIA Chef Presenter, Latin Foods American Kitchens 2014