Alexandra Gates

Chef & Owner, Cochineal Marfa

Born and raised in Northern California, Alexandra spent time in Europe with her family, visiting her Swiss-German grandparents. Food was an important part of their lives, and she experienced a wide range of food and culture there, from preparing homemade meals with her mother and grandmother, to dining at Michelin-star restaurants. Working her way through art school in San Diego and then New York City via restaurant jobs, Alex emerged an artist with a creative

bent toward food – a good meal made gives her the artistic satisfaction she craves.

At Cochineal, Alexandra creates daily menus based on what she is inspired by and excited to cook. Based on whatever is growing in her garden – so Texan, but also European. She savors using local ingredients, including those from farmers and ranchers throughout the region who share her commitment to sustainability. She makes a conscious effort to prioritize inclusion in the culinary space – an industry where only 16% of executive chefs and 14% of restaurant owners

are female. From focusing on female winemakers in Cochineal’s wine and beverage program to speaking out publicly on the topic, Alex serves as a role model to women aspiring to successfully own and operate their own restaurants.

Alexandra, along with her architect husband James and teenaged daughter Keanna, is committed to her community in Marfa and beyond. She served on the board of directors for the Fresh Chefs Society, and her family has joined her in volunteering for local charities such as the Sustainable Food Center in Austin, the Nutrition Center in Marfa and to regularly hosting fundraisers for the local Marfa school.