The Austin Chronicle

Dynamic Duo Cooking at El Naranjo

By Virginia B. Wood, September 18, 2014, 3:30pm, On the Range

Although the high-profile Fiestas Patrias dinners and cooking classes scheduled over the coming week sold out quickly, visiting chef Tomás Dominguez will spend the coming week in the kitchen at El Naranjo alongside chef and co-owner Iliana de la Vega, enhancing her menu with dishes from Veracruz.

Dominguez – a renowned chef, restaurateur, and culinary consultant – is in Austin to participate in a series of events to celebrate Mexico's declaration of independence from Spain in 1810, when Texas was still part of Mexico. The festivities include sold out dinners and cooking classes at El Naranjo and an educational culinary seminar presented Sept. 17 at the Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies on the UT campus.

From now through Tuesday, Sept. 23, Dominguez will be augmenting the regular menu at El Naranjo with signature dishes that demonstrate his mastery of the distinctive cooking of the Mexican coastal state of Veracruz. A selection of Dominguez's dishes will be available at dinner and brunch over the next few days.

El Naranjo chef and co-owner Iliana de la Vega had a very busy week as she was preparing for arrival of her guest chef and their combined participation in all the Fiestas Patrias events. On Thursday, Sept. 11, the Mexican Consul bestowed her the prestigious Ohtli Award. The award takes its name from the Aztec word for "path" in the indigenous Nahuatal language, signifying that recipients have enhanced the path to progress and success in their respective communities outside Mexico. Chef de la Vega has fostered a greater knowledge and appreciation of Mexican cuisine and culture through her restaurant and as a founding instructor in the Latin American Cuisines program at the Culinary Institute of America campus in San Antonio.

On Saturday, Sept. 13, chef Iliana de la Vega was also recognized by her peers in the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce at the Celebrando Austin gala at the Four Seasons Hotel. She was named Hispanic Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 for her accomplishments as a business owner.

El Naranjo
85 Rainey, 512/474-2776
Tuesday- Saturdays, 5:30-10pm

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