Puerto Rican woman makes history win James Beard victory


Two Latinas are among the diverse range of winners of this year's James Beard awards.

Details: At least 17 Latinos were nominated for what are known as the Oscars of the culinary world. The ceremony was held Monday night in Chicago.

  • Natalia Vallejo of Cocina Al Fondo, based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, won the Best Chef: South award. The category includes the island, along with Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
  • Yoli Tortilleria, based in Kansas City, Missouri, and co-owned by Mexico native Marissa Tapia Gencarelli, won the Outstanding Bakery award.

What they're saying: "It's an honor for me to be here representing Puerto Rico, the culinary identity of my nation and Puerto Rican women," Vallejo said during her acceptance speech, in Spanish.