Luisa Rios is a professional personal chef, a graduate of the renowned Le Cordon Bleu Paris – Culinary Arts Institute and a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) and the American Personal & Private Chef Association (APPCA). Since opening Cooking Journeys in 2008, Luisa has developed a passion for catering to the needs of people with all varieties of special diets and food allergies, restrictions and intolerances. She has cooked for Royalty, CEOs, professional athletes – and families just like yours.
My Cooking Journey
If you’ve ever wondered whether the love for great food is hereditary, one look at my family will dispel any lingering doubts you may have.
As a child growing up in Colombia, South America, everything important that happened in our lives took place around the dinner table. The table was where we laughed, cried, yelled, debated the topics of the day, told our stories and talked for hours without end. It was the place for family gatherings, celebrations and for reuniting at the end of the day with the most important people in our lives. Most of all, it was the place where we ate – wonderful, fresh, local foods, that warmed our hearts as surely as it filled our stomachs.
My mother, aunts and grandmothers are all great cooks, each with their own particular sasson (taste) and specialty. My father, meanwhile, was the great entrepreneur who never failed to tell my brother and I that, if we truly believed in something and weren’t afraid of a little hard work, there was nothing we couldn’t do. With this support, passion and inspiration behind me, I believed I could build a business around something I truly love: food.
When I moved to Canada two decades ago, I was thrilled to discover that my adopted home was not only a land of many different people and cultures, but also an endless bounty of varied cuisines, each more delicious than the last. I have been fortunate to have lived and travelled extensively in Canada, where I have met many wonderful people who work the land to grow or produce great food in every season – a concept that was completely foreign to me, coming as I was from more tropical climes.
Eager to make up for lost time, I decided to leave behind my former life as a new media project manager, and enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu Paris – Ottawa Culinary Arts Institute, where I trained with some of the best French chefs in the world. I completed Certificates in both Cuisine and Patisserie, and served a 10-week apprenticeship with Beckta Dining & Wine, named one of the Top 10 New Restaurants in Canada by Enroute Magazine.
Upon graduating from the Institute, I joined the team at Epicure Traiteur Catering in Gatineau, where I honed my skills as a prep cook and pastry assistant under the tutelage of expert chef Norbert Chabot. A position with The Angel House Heritage Inn in St. John’s, Newfoundland, gave me the opportunity to work with The Rock’s legendary cook, Anne Riche, running the Inn’s kitchen and preparing some truly unique breakfasts and catered events.
To me, Cooking Journeys is really the smorgasbord of all of these people, influences and places I have been lucky enough to experience, as well as all the wonderful cooks and clients who have been such an amazing part of my cooking journey over the past 10 years. Like a great recipe, their examples are the essential ingredients of the passion for food that I would now like to share with you. I am truly excited to have finally landed in this wonderful city by the sea, and by the prospect of sharing many unique and wonderful foods, dining experiences and dishes with you, your family and friends.
Together, we can create a unique gathering place for everything and anything related to food. A place to relax and have fun. To unwind and take a break, if only for a few hours, from life’s daily chaos. To indulge in the true passions and pleasures of life.
And perhaps, in the process, to inspire the same kind of earnest conversation, heartfelt joy and life-affirming passion around your own family’s table that was the best and truest spice of mine.