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ABOUT OUR FOUNDER

MARICELA VEGA founded CHICO officially in 

2016 as a food concept.

Since then, she has steadily built the social 

enterprise into what it is recognized as now. 

A nomadic ATL institution that prides itself on the 

ability to nixtamal land race maíz into ground 

masa and educate our community about it.  

From there the possibilities are endless.


Maricela created CHICO to provide the city of 

Atlanta and surrounding  southern cities with a 

point of reference of what an example of 

Mexican cuisine based in the South can be.

It is a homage to her ancestors, to her parents

 who immigrated to California and later moved 

the family across the country to Georgia.

She hopes to create symbiotic relationships and help

inspire those around her as she is reciprocally inspired.


Mari has spent over a decade cooking in Atlanta 

and half of that time has been spent learning and 

growing alongside the food systems in GA. 

While restaurant work has always laid at the forefront, 

disciplined in various sectors of the food worlds 

including film and media work.


She begs the question, 

"how can we move forward without knowing what is behind us?"


AWARDS, ACCOLADES, AND NODS:

JBF 2020 Semi Finalist Rising Chef

2020 NYT Profile Pice on Social Justice + Food Advocacy 

2020 Executive Chef of the year for the GA Department of 

Agriculture's Georgia Grown Program

2019 Atlanta Magazine Best New Chef

2019 Eater ATL Best Pop Up

2019 Lady Locavore Chef of the Year via 

Community Farmers Market

2018 Creating Loafing Chef of the Year

2016 Food First scholarship recipient 

to the Cuba Agroecology trip




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