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Daniela Soto Innes

The NYC Chef Who Won a James Beard Award at 25

Winning a James Beard Award is a lifetime achievement. Daniela Soto-Innes did it at 25 years old. The (now 28-year-old) head chef de cuisine at Cosme and Atla in NYC started working in kitchens at 14 (she lied about her age) and has been called a prodigy in the world of food. When you taste her duck carnitas tacos, you understand why.

When did you realize what you wanted to do in your life?

“All the women in my family are amazing cooks. Since I was 3, I was baking in my grandma’s bakery.”

What does being a woman mean to you today?

“I don’t know how it feels to be a man, so it feels pretty normal to me.”

What advice do you have for other women working toward their own dreams?

“Think of yourself as a tree and decide what type of soil, environment, and fruit you want to have.”

Desert island question: If you could bring only three things, what would they be?

“Coconut, cacao and a knife.”

Whom do you admire more than anyone else?

“Myself.”

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