Maribel invites people into a kitchen filled with unique Latin foods, chiles (ajíes), and passion for the stories and tastes of Perú, Bolivia, and Mexico.
Maribel’s lineage instilled her passion early on in life. Her grandparents owned a Mexican foods factory in San Antonio, Texas and originated the tradition of selling tortilla chips and nachos at Texas Rangers baseball games – a trend that popularized around the country. Her mother carried on the family business, and Maribel and her brother Carlos fell in love with food. For four years, Maribel directed the Sustainable Food Center’s The Happy Kitchen in Austin (combining cooking, teaching, and a community health program for Austin’s underserved population) while Carlos opened restaurants to share the cuisines of their heritage.
As Maribel built communities around those beloved new Austin restaurants – El Chile, El Chilito, El Alma and Alcomar – with storytelling and media, she discovered her love of creating meaningful conversations around cooking. To immerse herself entirely in Latin American food culture, she earned her Chef’s certification from the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio. She went on to specialize in Latin cuisine, studying with renowned chefs from Puerto Rico, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and Bolivia.
Her journey began in her native city of La Paz, Bolivia. There, she worked with Gustu, a finedining restaurant with a nonprofit initiative to employ impoverished young Bolivians as culinary students. Inspired by that vision, Maribel went on to Argentina and Uruguay, learning the gaucho style of grilling from renowned chefs.
In Lima, Peru, Maribel was ready to put down roots. She stayed for 2 years, staging in top kitchens and getting her fingers on the pulse of the culinary community. She began sharing the amazing stories of her journey, publishing articles for Comosur.com, The Latin Kitchen, and Edible Austin, and contributing to chef Virgilio Martinez’s Lima Cookbook.
Maribel returned to the United States in 2016 to bring her talents and expertise back to the family business. Hand-in-hand with her brother Carlos, she created Yuyo, Austin’s most exciting new Peruvian restaurant. Now, Maribel shares her rich knowledge of modern and ancient food traditions with readers and eaters alike.