Iliana de la Vega

Iliana de la Vega is the former-chef-owner of El Naranjo, a highly acclaimed restaurant in the city of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. She was born and raised in Mexico City, where she attended university and afterwards began her career in professional cooking, eventually becoming owner-chef of a successful bakery and catering business. Her family is from Oaxaca, and she grew up cooking and eating Oaxacan food. In 1994 she moved to Oaxaca and a few years later opened a restaurant where she prepared her own interpretations of Oaxaca’s traditional dishes, including the seven different moles for which the region is famous. For more than fourteen years she has given cooking classes and demonstrations on both Mexican and Oaxacan cooking.

She has been featured in the New York Times, Bon Appétit and other major newspapers and magazines. After some social and political unrest in Oaxaca, closed the restaurant El Naranjo, and left Mexico. Lived for several months in Santa Fe NM, USA, where she gave lectures, cooking classes and demonstrations. She moved recently to Austin Texas, working on the project of opening a restaurant.