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Elena Reygadas, in a restaurant kitchen. She is laughing.
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Mexican chef awarded best in the world

Elena Reygadas has been awarded World’s Best Female Chef of 2023 for her career in cooking and restaurants founded across Mexico City.

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Every year, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants award chefs with honors for their cooking and their work beyond the kitchen. This year, they have named Elena Reygadas to be The World’s Best Female Chef of 2023.

Since 2002, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has sought to reflect and celebrate the diversity and richness of the world's culinary landscape. Through a panel of 1,080 culinary experts and a structured and audited voting procedure, they create annual lists of the best restaurants in the world, along with the chefs behind them.

“I did not expect it and it has been a very nice surprise; it is very exciting to obtain recognition like this. I want to share it with my entire team; there are many of us in the kitchen and it is always a collective act," Reygadas said in an interview with Telemundo, translated by NBC News.

Born in Mexico City in 1976, Reygadas took her childhood memories of energetic family meals and her appreciation for Mexico's diverse culinary culture by the hand and enrolled in the French Culinary Institute in New York (now known as the International Culinary Centre).

From there, she went to London, working alongside Italian chef Giogio Locatelli, in his Michelin-starred restaurant, Locanda Locatelli.

Following the birth of her first daughter, Reygadas returned to Mexico City to found her flagship restaurant, Rosetta, which opened its doors in February 2020, in the historic neighborhood of Roma.

The World's Best Female Chef 2023 Award is not the first time she has been recognized by 50 Best Restaurants. Prior to this, she has been featured on eight editions of their Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list, and made an appearance on the extended list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants in 2022, placing at 60th best worldwide.

Through her study of artisanal baking traditions and use of slow fermentation, Rosetta's baked bread became popular enough for the opening of La Panaderia de Rosetta; a bakery that opened in 2012.

Over the years, Reygadas has opened up multiple locations in Mexico City, but has also written cuadernos — or notebooks — that are filled with extracts of academic texts Reygadas considers important to consider when discussing modern gastronomy. 

Through these books, she hopes to raise awareness and create conversation around the ways heath, culture, and the environment intersect in gastronomy.

"When I was trained, the truth is that many times I was the only woman in the kitchen and the women were almost always in the desserts," Reygadas said. "However, for example, here in Rosetta we have a lot of women and I see more and more."

As of 2022, Reygadas launched the Beca Elena Reygadas scholarship to provide young women in the Mexican countryside the ability to pursue a career in cooking.

“My two grandmothers were very good cooks, I even have beautiful handwritten recipes for them,” Reygadas said. 

“I think I saw that cooking is a way of giving love, affection and expressing ourselves. I understood that from a very young age,” she concluded.

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