Krista Velasco

My father built our house next to Popotla where all the fisherman work. There were hardly any houses or people but there were a lot of wild horses. My father was born in Guadalajara but most of the food we ate was quickly inspired by Baja California. My father was a consultant in Guadalajara for businessmen that wanted to open restaurants. They would hire my father to create their menus and their kitchen strategies. When my parents settled in Rosarito, my mom had a steady job and my father did most of the cooking in the house. On the weekends, we would eat a lot of fish and lobster. Everything was always fresh. When you come into our kitchen, there's a big brick arch and there is a bar made from talavera. The house is not enormous but when we have get togethers, everybody surrounds the kitchen.

I was a very happy child. We had a lot of family around us. I spent most of my time on the beach or down by Popotla. It was a healthy childhood. There was a lot of tourism in Rosarito and life was very fluid because there was a lot of money being invested in the area. We, as locals, never really got involved with all the tourists and we kept to ourselves on the beach. We would swim in the ocean and most of my friends were surfers. Then, things changed and the violence started.

When I was 18, I was still unsure of my future. I studied international business but was bored. I went to live in Paris to study interior design and that didn't really interest me either. Then, when I came back, one of my friends convinced me to begin studying at the Culinary Art School in Tijuana. I ended up enrolling and since I had a long history of cooking with my father, it became a natural fit. I graduated in 2010 but I still didn't have detailed plans on what do next.

Two years before I graduated from school, I had my first child during the summer. Her name is Isabella. I was cooking in a Vietnamese restaurant in San Diego and my daughter's father, Diego, was opening a restaurant and everything was uncertain. When all the violence in Tijuana started, Diego's restaurant was a casualty and we had to modify our plans until we saved enough money to establish a home in Ensenada. Once we were able to do that, a brewery opened and they asked Diego if he could be the chef and he referred me because at the time, I wasn't cooking, I was staying at home with my daughter. So, I became a chef partner in this business called Cerveceria Wendlandt.

Soon after we had Isabella, we had Lucia. My relationship with Diego didn't survive but I now live in a cabin right next to where I grew up. I think its difficult to have two children and a business and a passion but we all have to adapt and that's what I do best: Adapt. Oftentimes, I use the difficult moments to teach lessons to my daughters about how we have to adapt in moments of adversity. I always imagined that I would have a relaxed spot near the ocean which is what I have now with my brewery. We have been very successful and I still believe in food service and loving what I do in the kitchen.