Claudette Zepeda


Claudette Zepeda is a San Diego-based chef and the culinary driving force behind Michelin-honored El Jardín. She has worked with some of the industry’s best and brightest, from Javier Plascencia at Bracero to Gavin Kaysen at El Bizcocho. She’s competed on two seasons of Top Chef and continually earns rave reviews—not to mention a passionate, dedicated following—for her hyper-regional Mexican masterpieces.

Born in the U.S. and raised between Tijuana, Guadalajara and San Diego, Claudette soaked in inspiration everywhere in between. She spent years traveling and scouring Mexico, delving into its cultural and culinary background. Claudette creates dishes honoring her Mexican roots as well as the ancestral recipes created and shared by matriarchs throughout history.

I cook and speak for the people that can’t speak: the women, the grandmothers whom I had met who had these recipes that no one else in the world had seen.

When I started cooking Mexican food, it was my homecoming. Mother Earth will always call you to where you belong.