Much is made of the energy level–and what exactly supplies the fuel for it–of Daniela Soto-Innes, the chef/partner of Enrique Olvera’s Cosme and Atla in New York City. Writers labor over descriptions of her daily activities (7 a.m wake-ups), her diet (apple-cider vinegar drinks), her workouts (yoga, most days). As though one could parse this routine and find a simple explanation of how Soto-Innes, at just 24, started running the show at Cosme and then, at 25, won a James Beard Award for Rising Star Chef. Now 27 years old, still a remarkable stretch away from 30, Soto-Innes continues to raise the bar, both for herself and the food she makes.
Though Soto-Innes’s career is certainly aided by this well-documented store of energy, what has pushed her into the stratosphere of culinary giants at such a young age can perhaps be attributed to her early education and her preternatural drive. In interviews, she recalls being surrounded by a mother and grandmother who cooked incessantly. As a young child in Mexico City, she would sit in a chair at her grandmother’s bakery and relish in sweet smells. These early experiences contributed to, still just a teenager, Soto-Innes seriously considered a career in the restaurant world. Training at Le Cordon Bleu turned into a spat of gigs in Texas, which eventually led to her return to Mexico City, where she ended up at Enrique Olvera’s famed Pujol.
It was at Pujol that Soto-Innes began to quickly move up the ranks. When Olvera planned to open Cosme, he offered her role of chef. She accepted–and she accepted the position again when they opened Atla. Three years and two Stateside restaurants later, Soto-Innes continues to make waves in the culinary world. Having accomplished so much so quickly, you can be sure Soto-Innes is a name you will continue to hear for decades to come. Below, we head to Atla to talk to this inexhaustible young chef about marathons, mezcal, and thirty-minute packing plans.
Place of residence:
Chef/Partner at ATLA and Cosme.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Professional marathon runner.
Quote to live by:
“This too shall pass.”
First job you ever had:
Working in my grandmother’s bakery in Mexico City.
Least favorite part of your day:
1 p.m. because it means the morning is over.
Windows down, the song you’re playing is:
“Blister in the Sun” [by] Violent Femmes.
Three guilty pleasures:
Avocado, coconut, chocolate.
If you had to watch one movie on repeat for eternity, what would it be?
You have a million dollars to spend on art, you buy…
Something from Dustin Yellin.
Plane, train or automobile for a trip?
What IS your favorite trip?
I love going to Oaxaca because it’s my culture. There’s so much exciting, delicious food and kind people there.
Personal travel ethos:
Pack 30 minutes before you leave. That way, you end up forgetting things and get to buy memories from that place.
Drink of choice:
Beach house or tree house:
What is the best news you ever received?
When my sister told me I’m going to be an aunt.
Briefly describe the best concert you have ever gone to.
I saw Zoë in London with Enrique [Olvera] and her music is so good. We ended up going backstage and staying there until we were kicked out!
Where do you go for inspiration, peace of mind?
Yoga studio or the park.