March 8th marks International Women’s Day, a day meant for celebrating the achievements of women all over the world. Not only are more women holding positions of power than ever before, but they also are inspiring their peers and future generations of women to strive to be more and to do more. At Goodtaste with Tanji, we are so proud to have the opportunity to showcase some of the strong female chefs around Texas. Read on to find out more about these amazing local chefs and the recipes that help fuel their success.
Blanca Aldaco – Aldaco’s Mexican Cuisine
At Aldaco’s in San Antonio, festive Mexican food wouldn’t be complete without family or the “art of the table”! La Maesta Blanca Aldaco makes it all with lots of love — as she says “amor is sabor and sabor is amor” or “love is flavor and flavor is love.” You’ll taste love and flavor in everything from her mean margarita to famous dishes like Pastel Tres Leches, which was first introduced to San Antonio by Blanca Aldaco in 1989. Since then, you can find it at numerous places across town, but Aldaco’s still serves the best to be found.
Sylvia Casares – Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen
Photo Credit: Eater
The “Enchilada Queen” will give your taste buds the royal treatment at her restaurant, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen in Houston. Six years ago, her ex-boyfriend shot her and left her for dead. She put the whole event behind her, so she could move on. From then on, she has been a powerhouse. She opened a second and third location of her restaurant and scored a cookbook deal with a New York publishing company. Her book, The Enchilada Queen Cookbook, has been praised by Publishers Weekly and Texas Monthly. She shared her recipe to the classic Cheese Enchiladas with Chili Gravy with us here. It’s a Tex-Mex staple that Sylvia has perfected.
Anita Jaisinghani – Pondicheri
Photo Credit: Mayra Beltran
James Beard Award-nominated chef, Anita Jaisinghani, owner of Pondicheri, had culinary fortune and fame in Houston with her unique style of Indian street food like the Fenugreek Fish. She decided to take on the daunting task of opening a second Pondicheri in New York City, a city with some of the fiercest restaurant competition and food critics in the country. A stressful year and a half later, the doors opened, and Anita took a bad fall where she broke her right wrist and injured her shoulder. Despite her fall and setbacks from her injuries, she still managed to keep the restaurant open, and she received glowing reviews from NYC food critics in publications like New York Magazine and the New York Times.
Heather Nañez – Bohanan’s
Photo Credit: San Antonio Cocktail Conference
Heather Nañez, Head Chef of Bohanan’s Prime Steaks and Seafood, originally came to San Antonio for college to study radio, television and film but, like many students, ended up in a different career path. Starting at Bohanan’s 16 years ago as the only female in the kitchen, Nañez began as a saute chef and has since proven herself to be a dedicated culinary master. She was trusted in creating wine dinners, opening a bar featuring drinks like Bohanan’s Fu Manchu and was asked to be involved in chef Mark Bohanan’s other ventures. She helped in establishing the San Antonio Cocktail Conference and had a great hand in developing the menu at Peggy’s on the Green.
Catherine Rodriguez – The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa
Photo Credit: Visit Houston
Catherine Rodriguez has been tackling the pastry world since the age of 18. She started her culinary career at the Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Gilon, Switzerland. Later, she traveled back to the U.S. to improve and develop her pastry and dessert skills in California at The Kitchen for Exploring Foods and the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. To further her education, she took courses in L’Ecole de Grand Chocolat at the Valrhona Chocolate Factory in France to better understand chocolate and plated pastries. In 2004, she settled down in Houston, and in 2006 she joined The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa where she makes creations like the Chestnut Cake with Chocolate Glaze.