Latina chef Maricel Presilla wins a James Beard Award, the Oscars of the food world

I've never eaten at Maricel Presilla's restaurant Cucharamama in Hoboken, New Jersey, but I already know that it's a great restaurant. How do I know? Well, because the Cuban-born chef has just been honored with the top award for chefs across the country. Maricel Presilla is now one of a handful of Latinas to win a prestigious James Beard Award (a.k.a. the Oscars of the food world).


Read more ¿Qué más? Latino chefs have been nominated for the James Beard awards, the Oscars for foodies

I'm not really surprised that she won the top honor, though, since she has been recognized by President Barack Obama as a culinary talent when, in 2009, he had her cook for his "Fiesta Latina." As a huge foodie, this is pretty much the most exciting thing I've seen happen since then and it's a really big deal that she's won. Not only because it's great for her and the restaurant but also because it's great for Latinas and, in particular, female chefs.

Despite the traditional gender stereotypes of women in the kitchen, female chefs are actually hard to come by. In fact, if you look through the rest of the 2012 James Beard Awards winners list, she's one of just a few other women—and the only Latina. I'm sure we can all agree that we need more women like her behind-the-scenes of the top restaurants in the country!

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Luckily for us, she wasn't the only Latin chef to win an award that night. Matt Molina also won a James Beard Award for being the executive chef at Mario Batali's Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. And, let me tell you, I have eaten there and he very much deserves the honor. I can't wait to see what these two do next and I'm definitely hoping that their wins will keep opening doors for more Latinos at top restaurants.

Do you hope that this Latina chef winning a top award will mean more women in the kitchen at restaurants? Share with us in the comments below!

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Topics: cuban food  latin chefs  latin restaurants