Culinary Excellence

Diana Dávila

This Mexican-American chef is creating authentic dishes that represent different regions of Mexico inspired by her heritage

Diana Dávila is one of Chicago’s most celebrated chefs and is the Executive Chef and owner of Mi Tocaya Antojeria, a Mexican gem restaurant in Logan Square. Growing up in Chicago, Diana, spent a lot of time in the kitchen of her parent’s taqueria.

She attended culinary school in Oaxaca, Mexico, at Seasons of the Heart, and when she returned home, she began cooking professionally at her family’s upscale restaurant, Hacienda Jalapeños. During her time working there is when she was first recognized by Phil Vettel , a Chicago Tribune critic, who called her cooking a “Mexican marvel.” After that, her career continued to rise with her working in acclaimed restaurants in both Chicago and Washington DC.

Chef Diana Davila©Mi Tocaya Antojería
Chef Diana Dávila was on the NBC Chicago morning show cooking chili rellenos

In Chicago, she worked at Butter, a restaurant named “Best New Restaurants” in 2005 by Esquire Magazine, followed by her work at Boka (Michelin starred). She then spent 4 years in Washington DC, learning and collaborating with established restaurateur Jackie Greenbaum. Between 2010-2011, In DC, she gained recognition and was named one of 13 “Culinary Rising Stars” by Washingtonian and one of five “Female Force” chefs by Washington Life.

After DC, Diana moved back to Chicago to work at Cantina 1910, and in 2017, she was ready to launch her first solo restaurant project, Mi Tocaya Antojeria. Since her restaurant opened, she’s had nothing more than praise in the industry and from critics from Bon Appetit, and The Chicago Tribune and New York Times.

Chef Diana Davila©Cantina 1910
“When someone who’s first or second-generation Mexican walks in and says ‘My God, that tastes exactly like what my mother made, or what my grandmother made,’… having that moment for people is Mi Tocaya’s sweet spot” - Dávila/ Food Innovation

Dávila is a master in Mexican gastronomy and she is passionate about her cooking, her team and her culture. Her goal is to bring truly ‘authentic Mexican food’ to fine dining. In an interview she did with Hyde Park Group’s Food Innovation in 2020, she expressed her aim to create real Mexican comfort food, not an Americanized version. She has also said that every dish in her restaurant is not only part of her childhood, but these familiar Mexican favorites are representations of the different regions of Mexico inspired by her heritage.

She has feen called the Future of Mexican Food by Eater national critic, Bill Addison.

Her passion doesn’t end there. During the pandemic, Diana contributed to the TODOS PONEN Project and teamed up with Chicago’s Top Chefs and local non-profits to help raise awareness about the lack of Covid-19 aid for undocumented restaurant workers, who are the backbone of this hospitality sector. You can read more about how Diana and her team helps on her restaurant’s site.

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