Meet Reyna

Reyna Mendoza of El Sabor Zapoteco offers participants first-hand knowledge into Teotitlán del Valle's rich culinary history through her hands-on cooking classes, hosted in her private home.

Like most women of her village, Reyna began making tortillas and learning how to toast chilis and grind ingredients on a metate as a child.  Cooking was a part of her everyday life and she embraced it at an early age.

In 2001, Reyna became an integral part in the project Que Tamal, a tamale cooperative started by La Mano Mágica, led by the women of Teotitlan del Valle. Shortly after, she managed the kitchen at La Casa Sagrada's bed and breakfast, where she eventually began teaching cooking classes.  Reyna's expertise was repeatedly called upon for Marilyn Tausend's Culinary Adventures, and she has collaborated with chefs Roberto Santibañez and Top Chef Master Rick Bayless of Chicago's Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Xoco.

Reyna further honed her skills alongside author and chef Ricardo Muñoz at his Mexico City restaurant Café Azul y Oro, and in 2005, broadened her culinary horizons in Canada, learning English while catering private dinners and teaching cooking classes. She was honored to be a part of the 2010 International Gastronomy Congress in Mexico City, invited by Congreso Gastronómico Internacional, where she gave a chocolate atole demonstration. Reyna currently offers students intimate hands-on cooking sessions out of her private home.