Laura Gonzalez is the Chef de Cuisine at Taqueria Centro at Omni Montelucia in Paradise Valley, Arizona and a winner of Chopped on the Food Network. Laura has had much experience in the Valley working her way up through many substantial restaurants.
First job: I got a start at The Herb Box restaurant and catering company as prep cook and line cook. This restaurant had a healthy menu, the have three locations. I worked all my way up and turn out to be a Catering Chef and Restaurant Sous chef. Overall 5 great years of my life in my career, until had to take another step on looking forward on what was about to come.
Favorite AZ restaurant: My favorite Az restaurant, I would have to say is “Four Peaks” Brewing company, they serve from burgers, to tacos to pizzas and other variety of food with a selection of different beers!
Person who has impacted your life the most: I would have to say my “Dad” he is the most hardworking person I know has even though I might not get to see him as often he has always been there for me..
Your biggest accomplishment in your eyes: Developing 3 menus to three different outlets for a whole new concept I believe has been the biggest accomplishment in my life that I would love to re do it all over again. It has made me understand on how to execute everything about a restaurant.
The biggest obstacle you have overcome: Having to work in a male dominating industry has been quite a challenge, and understanding different outcomes from kitchen staff and co-workers has thought me to understand the definition of patience and tolerance.
Someone who inspires you: Chef Gordon Ramsay is one of my biggest inspirations with his distinct personality to a great restaurateur.
Favorite quote: “Positivity is the key to success”
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: I would have to say discover your passion to pursue it, there is always a solution to everything.
What makes someone fabulous: Personality attracts attention, always smile.
On the September 18th episode of the Food Network show, Chopped, Taqueria Centro Chef Laura Gonzalez competed against three skilled chefs from across the country in front of judges Chris Santos, Martha Stewart and Geoffrey Zakarian. After three grueling rounds Chef Laura was named the Chopped champion. Laura moved to Phoenix from San Luis, Arizona to pursue her passion of cooking and graduated from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. She began her career at the Omni Montelucia in January of 2014 as a cook at Prado before being promoted the following year to Garde Manger Sous Chef. In 2017, Laura brought her talents to Taqueria Centro as the Centro Chef, where her Mexican roots have inspired a robust and flavorful menu with dishes like Mexican Street Corn, Papaya Caprese, Chicken Mole and more.