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Iliana de la Vega        

Chef, Restauranteur, & Consultant Specialized in Mexican Cuisine

Iliana de la Vega won worldwide acclaim for her restaurant and cooking school in Oaxaca, El Naranjo, which was featured in numerous newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times and Bon Appetit.

The reincarnation of El Naranjo in Austin, has been recognized as the best Mexican restaurant in the city. Before the brick and mortar restaurant came into being, de la Vega owned El Naranjo Mobile and Catering, a successful food trailer that was called, “the only real Mexican restaurant in Texas” by Texas Monthly magazine.

She is a 2019 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Southwest and 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas. Chef Iliana was awarded the Best Chef: Texas Award by the James Beard Foundation in 2022.

She is also a passionate teacher and served as the Mexican/Latin Cuisines Specialist for The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) from 2007 to 2012.

In 2014, the Mexican Government granted her the prestigious Ohtli award in recognition for her work with the Hispanic population and for furthering Mexican gastronomy. That same year, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named her Hispanic Female Entrepreneur of the year. She currently also serves as a consultant for the prestigious Stanford University Dinning Enterprises.

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