Meet Our Chefs

Each is a native speaker who researches and fact checks the cultural context of recipes to verify authenticity.

Chef Vita Tang - Chefs of Cooking Up Culture

Vita Tang

Cooking Up Chinese
Vita was born and raised in Taiwan with her 5 other siblings. Vita always wondered how her mother would buy the same materials from the market, but always seem to have a wide variety on the table. She was captivated by this creative process, and always hung around the kitchen. To this day Vita loves to continue to learn new things whether that is learning to sew, adopt the latest technology from her kids or experience the excitement world travel brings. She feels truly happy when she is able to share her Chinese background, culture, language and best of all – great Chinese cooking she learned from her mother.

Chef Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez

Daniela Ochoa Gonzalez

Cooking Up Spanish
While Mexico will always be home, Daniela is a world traveler having lived in multiple countries and can satisfactorily call herself a world citizen. She is the mother of two young bilingual kids who love to cook and garden with her. She is a noted  zero waste consultant, and speaks three languages fluently. In addition to this, Daniela is passionate about any subject she takes on so any chance to hang out with Daniela is very illuminating. Cooking Up Cultures is proud to have Daniela as one of our Cooking Up Spanish instructors from the very beginning.

Chef Amy Sherif

Amy Sherif

Cooking Up Arabic
Amy is a mother of two grown boys who both like to eat. As a family that relocated for work to several foreign countries a few times, she relied on her cooking to educate her boys on the Egyptian culture so they would remain in touch with their heritage. Amy is also a cool lady and is especially entertaining when with her kids. Yes, Amy can pull off the look of sunglasses at night. What a rock star!

Chef Magalie L'Abbe - Chefs of Cooking Up Culture

Anne Kaar

Cooking Up French
Anne is an American who’s been living in France for over five years with her partner, a French chef, and their two “fur babies”: a rabbit named Elvis and a cat named Presley (maybe you can guess her favorite musician?). Born and raised near Chicago, Illinois, her family has European roots – including French, Swedish and Luxembourg. She is a vegetarian who loves experimenting new methods to make traditional recipes. Her favorite dishes to cook are quiche and ratatouille — both are vegetarian and easy to adapt to try new techniques and ingredients! She also enjoys American BBQ (veggie style) and celebrating Halloween!

Chef Magalie L'Abbe - Chefs of Cooking Up Culture

Magalie L’Abbe

Cooking Up French
Magalie is a native Québécois of Canada.  World traveler and classically educated anthropologist, Magalie is a fantastic cook and encouraging instructor. She is also super mom, teaching her toddler French and English all while cooking dinner for the rest of her family.

Chef Raquel Ramirez Cevera - Chefs of Cooking Up Culture

Raquel Ramirez Cevera

Cooking Up Spanish
Raquel Ramirez’s native Spanish culture has undeniably shaped her passion for food and cooking. Her extensive traveling abroad and in the States, has without a doubt, helped discover a whole world of flavors that she often tries to recreate at home, while listening to some music. This together with 10 years working in international education and cultural interpretation plus 6 years in corporate sales and marketing demonstrate Raquel’s role as a vital member of the Cooking Up Cultures team. In her spare time Raquel is teaching her dog, Paco, English.

Chef Reyna Santiago - Chefs of Cooking Up Culture

Reyna Santiago

Cooking Up Spanish
Reyna Santiago is an exquisite artist as well as chef.  Her business, Unique Desserts, is a local family-owned business based in North West Austin. Reyna specializes in making exquisite, delectable and edible gelatin creations. To Santiago, these creations are more than decoration, these are inspired works of art that illustrate how beauty and life are so delicately intertwined, and how they should be savored. She approaches her Spanish instruction with the same philosophy. Visit her on Facebook: Unique Desserts Austin.

Chef Omar El-Batouty - Chefs of Cooking Up Culture

Omar El-Batouty

Cooking Up Arabic
Omar hails from Egypt, but identifies as a global citizen. He is a graduate of University of Texas and has lived and traveled extensively abroad. He is a petroleum engineer and true polyglot, speaking four languages: Arabic, English, Spanish, Portuguese, and a little French. Omar has many memories of learning to cook traditional Egyptian cuisine from his mom and found himself reconnecting with those memories as an adult when he started preparing dinner for himself and friends out in the oilfields of Texas. Omar likes to share his chemical knowledge of cooking with his students and friends. Favorite cooking time saver: adding a pinch of salt to water reduces the boiling point making water boil faster! Yessss.

Chef Jen Richardson - Chefs of Cooking Up Culture

Jen Richardson

Cooking Up English
Jen has been teaching English with Cooking Up Cultures since inception in 2010. Her extensive experience teaching in Korea and in the U.S. have shaped her positive and structured style. She is a ‘stickler’ for details and cares deeply about learning and helping others to learn, too.  Jen is also a working mommy and somehow manages the work-life-mom juggling act with such a cool and level head. Maybe it’s the ukulele in her spare time or maybe its the awesome braids. If only her braids could talk.

Chef Pauline Forgeard-Grignon

Pauline Forgeard-Grignon

Cooking Up French

Pauline is a gifted graphic designer and marketing expert having worked for some major corporations in her back pocket. Notice our logo? She did that! Check out her partner company Studio Forth Right if you need some spiffy collateral, too. Beyond her day job Pauline is a fantastic cook and spends her spare time trying to create those same dishes from home – Brittany, France – with USA sourced ingredients.

To learn more about becoming an instructor for Cooking Up Cultures click here.