Daniela Soto-Innes grew up with “a line of really strong women” who loved to cook.
“I knew it was the thing that made me the happiest,” says Soto-Ines.
The 28 years old Latina has won the best female chef award of 2019. She is the youngest honoree to be named by the World’s Best 50 Restaurants. In 2016, she received the James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef also.
Though Soto-Ines is the owner of two modern Mexican restaurants named Cosme and Atla in New York, she did not always have the plan to become chef.
Born in Mexico City, Mexico to two lawyer parents, she moved to Texas when she was 12 and was a competitive swimmer during her young adulthood there.
Later, Soto-Ines studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Austin, Texas, and then trained in both Europe and New York under chefs Danny Trace and Chris Shepherd. After a few years she returned to her home turf and trained under chef Enrique Olvera at the award-winning Pujol restaurant in Mexico City.
Then she opened her two restaurants with Olvera in 2014.
At Cosme, the menu is anchored in Mexican flavours and traditions and includes dishes like duck carnitas, barbacoa with shishito peppers, quelites, avocado and salsa, and corn husk meringue desserts.
Atla is an all-day casual eatery that serves Mexican classics like ranchero eggs and quesadillas.
It is not only the flavourful food that appeals to Soto-Innes but also the people who make it. Most of the staff at Cosme are Latin American immigrants, while a few are from Russia and other countries as well.
It is this fusion of people, ideas and recipes that makes the restaurant so successful, she says.
“Both older talent and young talent deserve all the respect at all times, and we should be able to hear what has to be said,” Soto-Ines told World’s 50 Best in reference to her own youth.
Soto-Innes is also working on opening two new restaurants in Los Angeles later this year with Olvera – Japanese-influenced Mexican restaurant Damian and taqueria Ditroit.