For many years, owner and executive chef of Eden East, Sonya Coté, perceived cooking as much more than just putting food on a plate. Coté views her professional career as creating “edible pieces of art.” She recognizes that her culinary journey has led her to understand the importance of utilizing locally-grown ingredients for nutritional purposes and value.
Coté’s affinity for cooking started at a young age. While growing up in Rhode Island, Coté’s French grandfather introduced her to a realm of fresh and simple ingredients that could be transformed into gourmet dishes. Sharing this with her grandfather was the initial spark that would lead to Coté’s culinary career. After leaving Rhode Island, she moved to a commune in Iowa where she lived and worked with her mother. Coté had the opportunity to create dishes in her kitchen and was introduced to the concept of growing her own ingredients. She foraged for interesting elements from the earth that could be incorporated into her dishes.
Coté’s professional career began after obtaining a degree in graphic arts from the Art Institute of Dallas, which landed Coté a marketing career with Whole Foods. During this time, Coté founded her first catering company where she would prepare bites for art openings, matching her preparation with featured artists at the Dallas Contemporary Museum. Coté later got an apprenticeship, which led to an executive chef position at the Hoffman Haus and the Natural Palette Cooking School in Fredericksburg, Texas. After years of culinary training, Coté found herself in Austin and soon took a position in the kitchen at Dai Due alongside Jesse Griffiths.
After only being in Austin for a few years, Coté has acquired a handful of accolades, including being named one of Marie Claire’s “Woman on Top.” In 2013, Coté competed on Food Network’s “Chopped” before opening the farm to table restaurant, Eden East, named one of Austin Monthly’s “Best New Restaurants” in 2013. In that same year, Coté was named one of Tribeza’s “People of the Year.”
When Coté is not being a boss babe at Eden East, you can find her at Austin’s many farmers markets and making appearances at culinary fundraisers and educational and local food events.