Cosme’s Rising Star – Daniela Soto-Innes

Winner of the 2016 James Beard Rising Star Chef of the Year award and latest entrant on the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Cosme’s Daniela Soto-Innes star factor only seems to be on the rise. We caught up with her in New York to chat about her career thus far, as well as, her upcoming collaboration in Feast Portland this weekend.

Aspire Lifestyles: Who/what has been your greatest inspiration in your career so far?

Chef Daniela: The strong women in my family. They are who inspired me to first start cooking when I was little, and I draw inspiration from them constantly in my cooking. Many of the dishes at Cosme and Atla are influenced by their cooking and my memories of helping them in the kitchen when I was little.

Aspire Lifestyles: You opened your first restaurant at 24. What lessons would you give to someone else if they were embarking on the same journey?

Chef Daniela: Just go for it: don’t be afraid and stay true to yourself. You will never know everything and you must always learn. A lot of important decisions rested on me, so I had to really take things into my own hands and trust my intuition.

Aspire Lifestyles: Would you ever consider experimenting with other types of cuisine, apart from Mexican, and do you have plans to expand your restaurants?

Chef Daniela: I’m always taking inspiration from other cuisines to put my own twist on Mexican dishes. For example, I love playing with the similarities between Indian curries and Mexican moles. Our team is looking forward to expanding, but nothing is concrete at this point.

Aspire Lifestyles: You’re going to be in Feast Portland this Fall! Tell us more about your involvement and what we can expect from your special one-night only dinner event.

Chef Daniela: Enrique and I are doing a collaborative dinner with Chefs Andy Ricker, David Thompson, and Jose Chesa on September 14th. The menu is going to be a super fun cultural blend of dishes, we will be using dry and fresh chillies from Mexico. I have never been to Portland, but I’ve always wanted to go!

Aspire Lifestyles: Tell us what you would do on your day off to relax and unwind!

Chef Daniela: I like to run and do yoga. There is a tea room near my apartment that I love to go to in the morning, whenever I have time. I try to do things to balance out the beautiful craziness of running a restaurant kitchen. If I go out at night it usually starts with a dinner at a friend’s restaurant and then a bar with friends, a lot of the time with my cooks from the restaurants.

Aspire Lifestyles: Could you name us your favourite city in the world and why?

Chef Daniela: That’s hard to say but one of my favorites is definitely Austin, TX. It has a very special and unique energy to it— it’s laid-back and fun while also a really progressive city. It’s starting to get more and more amazing chefs and food concepts. I used to live there, and I miss it! But my heart is in Oaxaca, from waterfalls to mezcal to quesadillas… it’s all a dream.