Daniela Hurtado is the Programs Manager for La Cocina VA, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the empowerment of immigrants through culinary training, professional and life skills, and sustainable employment and development of small businesses, while also contributing to the community by providing free meals for the less fortunate.
Daniela studied Gastronomy and Culinary Arts in Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, Peru and graduated in 2005. After two years of working in some of the best restaurants in Lima, Daniela was chosen to direct the culinary program of a newly founded culinary institute, marking the beginning of her experience in the educational field.
In 2010, Daniela moved to New York City, where she continued to grow her passion for teaching while working as a chef instructor at one of the best culinary schools in the United States, the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE). She also had the privilege of being the first Peruvian chef to teach a professional cooking class on her country’s cuisine in New York City.
Besides her work in culinary education, she also worked in top New York City restaurants such as the Russian Tea Room, La Mar Cevicheria Peruana, Butter Lane Cupcakes, and Better Being 940.
Daniela moved to Washington, DC in 2014 to work at DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds, and build communities. She started as a Lead Culinary Instructor and later became manager of the Culinary Job Training program. As she became immersed in the workforce development field, she attended related conferences and took action to contribute to the successful employment of marginalized individuals. Daniela also helped develop recruitment and outreach strategies to encourage more people to join the free training program.
Daniela also worked as a Culinary Educator consultant for the Service Workers Training and Education Partnership Fund (STEP), and developed the culinary training curriculum which is used to train Union workers of the Local 23 area.