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Sandra Vázquez

We lived in a big house with a big yard and a pool. It is made of wood and it looks like a big cabin. The yard was so big and it was a wonderful place to be. My mother did the cooking but her mother helped out. We loved eating atole and tamales de elote and cooking over firewood. Because I was the only girl among a ton of boys, I was always cared for tremendously. We lived in a private neighborhood so we were free to roam on bikes and we always felt like we had everything that we needed.

At the age of eighteen, I made the toughest decision of my life to break away from the family and head to Tijuana. Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to work in a kitchen and my aunts that housed me introduced me to the Culinary Art School in Tijuana. I studied for three years and matriculated in 2006. I was very interested in becoming a tried and true Mexican chef cooking traditional ingredients from my homeland in Zamora, Michoacán. I didn't know where I would be cooking but I just knew that I wanted to be in the kitchen smelling all the wonderful aromas.

The first contemporary restaurant that I joined was Polivio in Guadalajara. Next, I went to an international restaurant making Asian themed dishes called Tras Puerta. At this restaurant, I began to climb the ranks in the kitchen. Working in kitchens in Guadalajara in a male dominated machista environment was difficult. As I grew friendly with the owners of the restaurants and as they promoted me, I began to feel the animosity with my coworkers. I had to battle my way through and change my character a bit. If I went in the sweet, gentle, nice girl, I came out much tougher and harder. I learned to defend myself and became more dominating.

I lasted for two years and I decided to make a big change once I had some experience. One of my brothers relocated to Tijuana and we both decided to open a restaurant called La Mestiza. My brother, Arnulfo, didn't really hang around afterward so Im mostly responsible for all the matters related to our business.

I'd like to have children in my future but right now, I have too much going on in business and I've focused on my professional development. I hope one day to have a husband and children. I'm pretty conservative so if I can find a man like my father, Id be very pleased. I'd like to admire my partner and feel that we are in a good position to start a family. I'm not the type of woman that sets an expiration date for any of these decisions. I don't want to force anything but I do recognize that I work in a very demanding job and I believe that my career has made dating rather difficult.