El Alma Cafe y Cantina - Texas Peach Flan
Recipe contains dairy.
"Saint Louise House is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the success of women and their children moving from homelessness to healthy, independent lives. We’ve been long time partners with SLH and have known the women who’ve helmed the project for many years. SLH is a incredible and extremely well-run non-profit that is doing very important work." - Chef Alma
EXECUTIVE CHEF ALMA ALCOCER'S STORY
Originally from Mexico City, Chef Alma Alcocer came to Austin in 1989 by way of Le Cordon Bleu culinary academy in Paris. After lending her skills to a brief stint in catering, Alcocer found herself working at nationally-recognized fine dining restaurant, Jeffrey’s, in Austin. Under celebrated Chef David Garrido’s skillful hand, Alcocer thrived in his collaborative environment that encouraged team input on the regularly evolving menu. Alcocer quickly moved through the kitchen from sous chef to executive chef upon Garrido’s departure.
In 2009, Alcocer left Jeffrey’s to work as Chef de Cuisine for Chef Miguel Ravago of the famed interior Mexican restaurant, Fonda San Miguel. Alcocer’s world-class training fit seamlessly into the most accomplished Mexican restaurant in Texas. Alcocer enjoyed showcasing the flavors of Mexican cuisine with fresh produce from the restaurant garden as well as other local ingredients.
Longtime friend, Carlos Rivero, asked Alcocer to join the team of Austin Tex-Mex favorite, El Chile. After working together, it quickly became evident to both that a restaurant of Alcocer’s own was long overdue. The two crafted a plan to create a concept that would blend her classical training with her Mexico City roots for a homespun take on authentic Mexican dishes, and El Alma was born.
Today, Alcocer can be found at her flagship El Alma developing new creations for the restaurant menu as well as executing the restaurant groups’ rapidly growing catering and events program.
Q&A WITH ALMA ALCOCER
Story Plate: What are your top three go to restaurants in your hometown?
Alma Alcocer: We live in North Austin so we go to Home Slice Pizza, Upper crust bakery, El Dorado Cafe (it’s actually the only take out we do consistently) Biderman’s for lox and bagels and on very special occasion it doesn’t get better than Uchiko
SP: What’s a must have or your favorite kitchen item and why?
AA: There are some things that I take for granted that I have always had in my kitchen because I cook professionally, a good knife, a set of mixing bowls, a heavy pan and a stock pot. But if I were to tell you what you will love having, it would have to be a good blender (AKA a Vitamix)
SP: Who/what inspired you to get into the culinary industry?
AA: I have always loved to cook so looking at my grandmother, she cooked herself. And the encouragement of my parents. “Learn a trade you like and work hard at it.”
SP: What is your most favorite thing that you like to cook for yourself at home and why?
AA: I sometimes make pasta, it’s relaxing and I just love plain pasta with tomatoes from our garden or basil pesto, and if I’m feeling very fancy I’ll add scallops- that is my all time favorite seafood
SP: If you didn’t choose to go down this career path, what would plan B have been for you?
AA: I would have loved to be a professional athlete, but I have no ability for any sport, but seriously I think I did consider being a special education teacher.
SP: How do you manage stress, what advice can you give your fellow girl bosses?
AA: I workout, take time to enjoy my family, and sometimes just let go. As for advice, don’t take yourself too seriously, learn to put yourself in other people’s shoes and plan ahead so you have solid footing when making decisions.