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San Diego, CA /
VAGA Restaurant

With more than 20 years of experience working in kitchens, Claudette Zepeda has helped to redefine Mexican cuisine in America. She garnered national acclaim for her work as executive chef and partner of San Diego’s El Jardin, receiving inclusion as one of Esquire’s 2018 Best New Restaurants and earning a 2019 Michelin Bib Gourmand listing. In 2021 she opened her love letter to San Diego in VAGA Restaurant & Bar, and in 2022 she founded Chispa Hospitality, which includes concepts in Australia and Mexico. Zepeda has a strong competition record, taking part in season 15 of Top Chef and Top Chef Mexico, and in 2022’s Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend, where she was one of two challengers to defeat an Iron Chef. Zepeda is also committed through mentorship to lifting up Latinas working in the F+B industry.