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Adria Montaño

We lived close to the ocean in a house made of cedar and my mom cooked for us on a daily basis. I loved being outdoors and my father used to take me fishing. I had a pink Power Rangers rod and reel and I remember that we used to go to Bajamar to the volcanic rocks to find crustaceans together. Later, at night, my mother prepared an incredible surf and turf menu with all different kinds of ingredients from land and sea.

When I was in high school, I began working at an amusement park cooking fast food: bbq ribs, hamburgers and hot dogs. Having a career in the culinary arts was not an option back then. People thought that you would be impoverished. After studying in Chula Vista for a short period, in 2009, I began studying at the Culinary Art School in Tijuana.

I was restless and I always questioned everything and my attitude was unruly but I think that I was one of the best in my class in terms of cooking. Throughout I continued working, paying my dues in lots of different kitchens. I fed ten people and I also fed a thousand people in different types of events. I simply wanted to be genuine to myself so I worked the longest hours and I was a perfectionist and highly competitive.

I am inspired by the ingredients. I don't use traditional recipes. I like to create. I like to mix and match. I have two businesses. One of them is called Don Ramen and the other is called Azarosa. I cook Mexican food but I touch it with an Asian influence. I was lucky that the people who supported me allowed me to create my cuisine without fear of being constrained to any one style.

Falling in love gives flavor to life but I don't yet have children. I don't have any plans to have a child. Making those decisions are difficult. Having a child is a huge responsibility and it changes your life dramatically. I like being independent. If I receive a proposal to work, I get up and go and take care of it without regard to anybody else. I do what is best for me. If I decide to have a child, I don't want my child to be raised by a nanny or by anybody other than me. I don't want to bring in my mother to facilitate the upbringing of my child. Right now, I have my priorities and they don't involve raising a family. I want to live, travel, sleep and grow my businesses.