Texas Tech University

Chef Iliana De la Vega Brings her Award-Winning Flavors to Campus

Alan Cushman

April 4, 2023

The James Beard Award-winning chef will be serving traditional central Mexican cuisine.



Get ready for a culinary journey to the heart of Mexico with James Beard Award-winning, Best Chef in Texas, Chef Iliana De la Vega. On April 5th, the celebrated chef will be serving up traditional central Mexican cuisine at The Commons in Talkington Hall and The Market at Stangel/Murdough.

With over two decades of experience in the culinary industry, Chef De la Vega has become known for her expertise in bringing the flavors of Mexico to life. The exclusive event will showcase the chef's skills and offer guests a unique dining experience, featuring authentic dishes made with only the freshest ingredients. 

"We're thrilled to be hosting this special culinary event, featuring one of the most talented chefs in Texas," said Kirk Rodriguez, senior managing director of Hospitality Services. "Chef De la Vega has a passion for Mexican and Latin cuisine that truly shines through in her cooking, and we cannot wait for Red Raiders to experience it for themselves."


About Chef Iliana De la Vega: Chef De la Vega is a James Beard Award-winning chef, known for her exceptional cuisine that combines traditional Mexican flavors with contemporary techniques. Before opening El Naranjo in 2012, Chef De la Vega served as the Mexican/Latin Cuisines Specialist for the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) from 2007 to 2012. At the CIA, she conducted research, developed curricula, and taught undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education courses on Mexican and other Latin cuisines while creating and launching the Latin Cuisines Certificate Program

Chef de la Vega has received numerous accolades throughout her culinary career, including the 2014 Ohtli Award in recognition of her work in furthering Mexican gastronomy in the United States and the 2014 Hispanic Female Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Chef de la Vega was also named a semifinalist in the 2019 and 2020 James Beard Awards for Best Chef: Southwest. In 2022, she became the first-ever winner of the Best Chef: Texas category in the James Beard Awards. 


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