Meet Ka’ana’s Top Chef – Armando

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Armando Cocom is an up-and-coming young chef in our kitchen. A local “boy” from the nearby Maya village of Succotz, only a couple miles down the road – he has been with Ka’ana almost from the onset. I caught up with him as he was preparing one of the new in-house specials and asked him a bit about what makes him tick.

How long have you been here at Ka’ana and how did you come about to your current position?

Well, I started out as a dishwasher when Ka’ana just opened in 2007, left for a short while, then returned and have been here ever since. To tell the truth I was just a regular kid that lived to play football in my village, I never really thought about what I wanted to do in life, but I realized I was growing up and had to find a job; this was actually my first job.

So how did you come about cooking?

Well, being here for a bit, I started observing what was going on around me – I noticed the other chefs and the preparation going on and I thought it was like “art” to see the food plated the way it was using all the ingredients grown right here in our organic garden – something that is not common at other resorts. Hearing the feedback from our guests was also very exciting and inspirational to me, so I started paying more attention. Pretty soon I was assisting and getting more involved.

What’s the most exciting part about your job? 

The most exciting part about my job, honestly, (smiling shyly) is that I love what I do 101%!  I never knew that I would find my life’s calling; I love being in the kitchen and being creative even when I am learning a new skill or technique. I am constantly training and learning – these days with Chef Jeff and its really great to work with him.

Is there anything that you personally helped to create that’s on our menu?

Actually I helped to come up with the concept of the layered tortillas recipe that I know is a crowd favorite.

Any advice to others who would like to follow in your footsteps?

Well of course, I would tell that if they find out that they really like to do what I do then to show their interest and go the extra mile to learn for themselves and train whenever possible and not to let anyone distract them from their dream. A special thanks to my bosses for taking an interest in this “village boy” and giving him an opportunity to excel!

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