Communal Table Podcast: Claudette Zepeda

The Top Chef alum talks cutting through white noise and becoming the leader she needed to see.

Claudette Zepeda
Photo: Alejandro Ibarra

Chefs and restaurant workers take great care of everyone else, but often they need a little help themselves. Each week, Food & Wine senior editor Kat Kinsman talks with hospitality pros about they manage their business, brain, and body for the long haul. Is there a topic you'd like to know more about or a guest you'd love to hear from? Tell us at or tweet to Kat @kittenwithawhip, and subscribe to the weekly Food & Wine Pro newsletter so you never miss an episode. Catch up on previous episodes here.

Episode 92: Claudette Zepeda

When Claudette Zepeda was at her most stressed-out, as she puts it, "my neck went away." Her shoulders were in a permanent state of hunch and she'd been advised at a new job to bring her "knives and anti-anxiety medication." But she learned along the way to advocate for herself, for people who'd always been marginalized in the world of food, and for the Mexican dishes that generations of her family held dear. The Top Chef alum and executive chef of the Alila Marea Beach Resort joined Communal Table for a conversation about breaking bad patterns, communing with her ancestors, being completely humbled by her teenagers, and mentoring the next generation of chefs.

Links and Resources


READ: Mother, Militant, Empath, Hard-Ass

MAKE: Birria Tacos

FOLLOW: @claudettezepeda

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Previous episode: Norma Listman and Saqib Keval chefs talk mole, valuing Mexican food, and what restaurant family really means.

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