Cooking As An Art

Denise Portillo describes the food she makes as food for your soul reports Pasadena Star-News.

As the eatery’s owner and executive chef, Portillo gets to put her stamp on a variety of dishes, ranging from grilled prosciutto-wrapped shrimp skewers to spicy orange chicken wings.

“The creativity is the part I like best,” the 40-year-old Whittier entrepreneur said. “I enjoy people liking my food. And when a child will eat and like something that doesn’t look like typical food to them … that’s nice.”

Children aren’t the only ones who appreciate Portillo’s culinary skills.

She was recently named 2010 Culinary Woman of the Year by the National Latina Business Women Association, Los Angeles.

“That was really surprising,” she said. “I’m young and you just don’t think you’ll win, but my mom and dad thought I would. It’s very humbling to know that people think a lot about me.”

Inspired by her family, Portillo studied at the famed Le Cordon Bleu culinary school and has become a world-class chef, food consultant and entrepreneur, running Bella Cafe and her own first-class catering company, Bella Events.

“We provide food for corporate events,” Portillo said. “We do business with companies like Sony, Nike, Farmer’s Insurance and Foothill Transit.”

Photo by Stewart Butterfield

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