'Super Mamas' podcaster, restaurant owner Bricia Lopez-Maytorena releases Oaxacan cookbook

ByBlanca Rios via WLS logo
Saturday, November 2, 2019
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James Beard Award-winning restauranteur and 'Super Mamas' podcaster Bricia Lopez-Mayotorena releases the first Oaxacan cuisine cookbook from the point of view of a Oaxacan family.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A new Oaxacan cuisine cookbook is out, and it is being told from the point of view of a Oaxacan family. Surprisingly, it is a first in the United States.

"It blows my mind," said Bricia Lopez-Maytorena, author of Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico. Lopez-Maytorena is now an author, chef, podcaster and entrepreneur.

Lopez-Maytorena said the cookbook, which is co-authored by Javier Cabral, food journalist and associate producer for "The Taco Chronicles" on Netfliix, is a much-needed platform for Mexicans in the United States, specifically for Oaxaqueños.

"They're always being looked at from a very archeological point of view," she said. "They think we're like people in museums."

The book tells the story about how she and her family immigrated to the United States.

It also shares the recipes passed down from Lopez-Maytorena's grandmother.

Lopez-Maytorena was joined by her sister Paulina Lopez-Velazquez for a conversation about the book at The Wing in Chicago's Fulton Market on Monday.

The sisters are both first generation, undocumented immigrants who grew up in Los Angeles. Together, with their brother Fernando Lopez Jr., they run the family's restaurant Guelaguetza in Los Angeles's Koreatown.

The restaurant has gone on to become an institution for Oaxacan cuisine in Los Angeles, winning a James Beard award in 2015 in the prestigious American Classics category.

It's the brainchild of their father Fernando Lopez but the inspiration comes from their mother, Maria de Jesus Monterrubio.

"Not so often is my mom's story told," said Lopez-Maytorena. "(She) was the essence of the restaurant, who is the MVP of this book."

Lopez-Velazquez said just like their now-retired father dedicated his James Beard award to the people behind the scenes, the book is dedicated to the people behind their restaurant's doors.

"You get the food and you eat it," said Lopez-Velasquez. "You don't really know who's behind those doors, and it what their stories are like, and what their life is like."

The sisters are both mothers and also co-host popular podcast Super Mamas. Their brother also helps run their online business I Love Micheladas.

Lopez-Maytorena tends to be the face of the family business. In September she expanded her brand by opening up Mama Rabbit in Las Vegas. The mezcal and tequila bar houses more than 400 varieties of the Mexican spirit-the strip's largest collection.

However, Bricia said all of her endeavors and the cookbook are a family project.

"At the end of the day, it's for the family," said Lopez-Maytorena.