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Sheyla Alvarado

I was born in Guaymas, Sonora and I lived there until I was eighteen years old. I lived with my parents and my siblings and I was very active as a child. I was creative and I liked being out in nature. My mother was a hard working teacher. Our house had an open floor plan and the kitchen was very small. My sister and I had to help out around the kitchen, making the fruit waters and heating up the food. My mother was very busy but we didn't eat out in the street, my mother always made us our food. She learned how to cook from her mother and her grandmother who worked as cooks for the workers in the agricultural industry. The food was very traditional Mexican food with heavy emphasis on meats, wheat, dairy and beans, northern style.

When I was eighteen years old, it was a crucial moment for me to decide what I wanted to do in my professional life. I was preparing for a career in tourism but I was uncertain. There wasn't a lot of work in gastronomy but I decided that I wanted to work as a cook so I looked up cooking schools. I wanted to study in Tijuana but my father didn't want me in Tijuana so when I found another school in Ensenada. I found an apartment and lived alone. It was hard but I liked the things that I was learning. I felt that it was similar to Guaymas in terms of the people and the seafood. I thought I understood what it would be like to start my career in Baja but when I graduated, I was hit with a sudden case of nostalgia and I went back to la marina de San Carlos in Guaymas to begin working in a restaurant. I started at the bottom and learned a lot but Ensenada was really growing at the time and I regretted my decision so soon thereafter I went back to Ensenada.

My first job was at La Contra in Ensenada. It was a small restaurant with a great concept and I learned to cook from scratch and about the nutritional content of our food. I loved to work with firewood and the ovens. A year later, I headed towards Valle de Guadalupe and I landed at El Cielo Winery. I was there for the opening of the restaurant with Ryan Steyn. Next, I went to Encuentro Guadalupe and next I landed at La Lomita in April 2015. I started as the sous chef and eventually I became the executive chef for Tras Lomita and La Lomita. We make the food open air family style from scratch.

I think that my career has been defined by perseverance. I think that I have consistently found myself playing second fiddle a lot but by working hard, my talent has allowed me to rise to the top. I use certain ingredients from Sonora but most of my cooking has been washed over by Baja California.

I am not married but I live with my boyfriend and we have a dog. We do not have children. I haven't begun to make the decision to have children or to plan that decision just yet. My work in gastronomy feels somewhat temporary so I think I want to give it a little time.