Daniela Hurtado is a dynamic leader whose focus is on the empowerment of underserved communities through food, leading change and building engagement. As the Programs Manager of La Cocina VA, Daniela ensures the organization’s standards are met and that the services offered by the organization have a positive impact in the lives of their clients.
In the earlier years of her career, Daniela studied Gastronomy and Culinary Arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, Peru, graduating with honors in 2005. After two years of working in some of the best restaurants in Lima, she was offered to direct the culinary program of a newly founded cooking school, marking the beginning of her experience in the educational field.
In 2010, Daniela moved to New York City and continued to strengthen her career in the culinary education field working as a culinary instructor at the renowned Institute of Culinary Education. At the same time, she also worked for top restaurants in the city such as the legendary Russian Tea Room, Gaston Acurio’s La Mar Cevicheria, the famous Butter Lane Cupcakes shop, amongst others.
Daniela moved to Washington, DC in 2014 to work with DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization that uses food as a tool to educate and to generate employment in marginalized neighborhoods. She started as a Lead Culinary Instructor and later became the manager of the Culinary Training program beginning her immersion in the nonprofit sector.
She also worked as a Culinary Educator consultant for the Service Workers Training and Education Partnership Fund (STEP) and taught recreational cooking classes at L’Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda for three years.
In 2015, Daniela was selected to be part of an art exhibition called “Women Chefs, Artists in the Kitchen” at the Strathmore Mansion in Maryland, which highlighted the impact of the work that women chefs are doing in the DMV area.
Daniela is very committed to dedicating her life’s work towards using the power of food to create advancement opportunities for communities in need. To further her education, in 2018, she completed the Leadership Greater Washington’s Rising Leaders program and the Non-profit Leadership Boot Camp at Montgomery College; both trainings enabled her to solidify her leadership qualities.
This year, Daniela completed the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate, offered by Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy, Center for Public & Nonprofit Leadership, where she furthered her knowledge and strengthened her natural leadership skills.