Author: Cleo Tarca

#GirlsWithKnives Spotlight: Italian Chef + Writer Dana Klitzberg

For two plus decades, Dana Klitzberg has been living and breathing Italian cuisine. Fun fact: she is the first (and maybe the only) American to serve as Executive Chef of a restaurant in Italy…and she did it twice! While cooking in restaurants, Dana launched international catering company blu aubergine and wrote for various publications like Time Out and Fodor‘s guides. She still writes, caters, teaches culinary classes, and leads food tours.

#GirlsWithKnives Spotlight: British-American Chef Mystical Greatrick

Chef Mystical hails from England but was raised in the Bay Area. Her culinary journey began in London and she strives to debunk the misconceptions that British food is bland and boring: “It’s full of powerful flavor, beautiful meat, and outstanding produce.” When she’s not hosting pop-ups, she’s feeding her kids elaborate meals, developing new recipes, and thinking about different ways to bring people together.

#GirlsWithKnives Spotlight: Vegan Chef + Women’s Activist Nina Curtis

Nina Curtis is a vegan and raw chef with over two decades of culinary experience. Her cooking has taking her all over the world, from New York City to Senegal to Malibu. Nina’s culinary style includes a variety of global flavors, like Mediterranean, African, Thai, and Mexican. This April, she’ll become the president of the Women Chef and Restaurateurs (WCR), an organization dedicated to networking, empowerment, and career development for women in food.

#GirlsWithKnives Spotlight: Actress and Malaysian Chef Samantha Tan

Samantha Tan is an actress by day and a home chef-entrepreneur by night! She was born and raised in Malaysia, a gastronomical heaven. After leaving Kuala Lumpur as a teenager, Sam’s homesickness for Malaysian street food was her motivation to get in the kitchen. She’s since lived and cooked all over the globe, from London to Manhattan. Now, she’s serving up authentic Malaysian eats to LA diners with Sam Tan’s Kitchen. 

#GirlsWithKnives Spotlight: Vegan Mexican Chef Denise Vallejo

Los Angeles-based Denise has worked as a private chef for celebrities, managed all-vegan restaurant kitchens, and even owned a small-batch vegan baking company. She’s also well versed in the occult sciences and Mexican folk medicine. Her oft sold-out Alchemy Organica pop-ups celebrate Mexico’s rich gastronomic heritage with dishes like pozole, huaraches, and flan — all plant-based, of course.

#GirlsWithKnives Spotlight: Manresa Alum + Thai Chef Lalita Kaeswsawang

Lalita has been cooking since she was 8 years old, learning how to make different dishes from her grandmother, father, and neighbors. She left Thailand as a teen, attending high school and college in the United States. Out of her college dorm, Lalita ran an inf0rmal pop-up and eventually decided to pursue cooking full time. She has cooked in New Orleans, Chicago, and in Los Gatos, California at three Michelin-starred Manresa. Currently, she’s hosting Thai pop-ups in Santa Cruz and San Francisco through HANLOH.