Meet the Harvest Headliners: Chef Maricela Vega

Maricela Vega

Maricela Vega is one to watch. She's the Culinary Director at Chico, based in Atlanta, and a James Beard Rising Star nominee. She's also the celebrity chef at our Harvest Wine & Food Festival Black Sheep Tequila Dinner on Friday, November 5. 

Q: What made you want to participate in the festival?
A; The idea of supporting an organization who fundraises in the millions for youth is outstanding to me. A part of our work is to work with underserved communities of children through food education so this feels very compatible. 

Q; How do you plan and execute a menu for a chef dinner?
A: I always work with nature’s offerings and build off of that with the variables at hand—Location? What story are we telling through the food? Who are our guests?

Q: How long have you been working as a chef?
A: I come to Destin with over a decade of professional cooking experience.

Q: What is unique about your restaurant?
A: Chico is a community based food organization that relies on the maiz indigenous work of our elders. We are praising the continuous indigenous resistance through our food and education because without them we would not be enjoying tortillas, tacos, quesadillas etc to simply be put. 

Q: What is a favorite menu item at your restaurant?
A: I do not have a favorite item! I love it all and admire each quality behind all our offerings.

Q: What is your favorite part of being in the hospitality industry?
A: My favorite part of being in the hospitality industry is that I get to relive and reimagine food that I grew up enjoying from my mother’s, aunts', grandmothers’ cooking. What I don't know about my heritage, I research and that too is something I love about hospitality is the ever learning and creative interpreting! 

Q: What are you looking forward to most about this year's chef dinner?
A: I am very excited about the tropical fruit and fresh fish offerings!

Published on Wednesday, August 25, 2021