Karla Mendoza Makes Nancy’s Chopped Salad with Us While Talking Female Representation in the Professional Kitchen

March 26, 2018

Karla Mendoza recalls the first time she saw women in a professional kitchen, and how that picture changed her whole life trajectory. “We were on a family vacation in Seattle, Washington. My mom, my sister and I were walking along a street and I saw a restaurant that was open—you could see through the kitchen . . . the dining room,” she tells us. “I noticed [the kitchen] was run by all women. We went inside and asked if it was an all-women owned business, and they said yes . . . and at that moment I thought if they can do it, I can do it too. That night I told my parents that’s really what I wanted to do.” A month later she was in culinary school, and she has since worked in kitchens her whole life. “I am lucky enough that when I saw those women working in the kitchen. That was rare back in the day.”

One such inspirational women in the kitchen—and Mendoza’s personal culinary idol, mentor, and now friend—Nancy Silverton made Mendoza the executive chef of acclaimed her restaurant Osteria Mozza in Singapore, and the dish in this video is a recreation of one of their bestselling dishes: Nancy’s Chopped Salad. “I’ve made thousands of these salads throughout my career at Mozza and it still remains to be one of my favorite salads,” she tells us. “The salad is the most difficult station in a restaurant,” she explains, since nothing is cooked but everything must be prepped. “If [someone] can’t make a good salad, [they] have no business being in the [professional] kitchen.”

Bea Osmeña SEE AUTHOR Bea Osmeña

Bea Osmeña is a healthy-ish eater who is just as likely to take you to a vegan joint as she is to consume a whole cheese pie to herself. A former picky eater, Bea has discovered the joys of savory fruit dishes, but still refuses to accept pineapples on her pizza. On the rare occasion you catch her without food in her mouth, you are likely to find her looking at books she can't afford, hugging trees, or talking to strange animals on the street.

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