A two-time James Beard winner, Traci owns six different restaurants across California. Many of her eateries feature Mexican soul food including San Francisco’s Mijita (“little one”) taqueria as well as School Night, a Mexican-Peruvian inspired cocktail bar. Chef Traci relishes a good challenge, having competed in a variety of cooking competitions from Top Chef to beating the legendary Mario Batali on Iron Chef America. She’s also an avid philanthropist whose greatest source of pride is giving back to the community.
Born to farmers in California’s San Joaquin Valley, Traci’s family encouraged her to forage and hunt at an early age, inspiring a lifelong devotion to sustainable, locally sourced produce. The child of French Acadian and Mexican parents, Traci’s unique cultural roots informed her culinary passions. Here’s a chef who waxed poetic about how to knead cookie dough at 4, a woman whose earliest memories include making flour tortillas from scratch with her grandmother. Today, her achievements and her passions are rooted in where she came from.
I’m a chef but I’m also a lot of other things. I’m a mother, a daughter, a sister. I’m a member of my community, I’m an entrepreneur, I’m a boss.
I identified with the Mexican community. I grew up with it. It’s my soul food. My family loved food; everyone cooked, hunted and foraged together; all of our gatherings were around food.