Meet 2023 Women in Culinary Showcase Participant Kristela Nazario-Mendoza

This Women’s History Month, Bon Appétit and our parent company, Compass Group, are celebrating female culinarians across our operations.

Launched in 2019, Compass Group’s Women in Culinary program goes beyond simply recognizing female culinarians for their work, to providing dedicated training and leadership development opportunities. An exciting element of the program is Compass Group’s Women in Culinary Showcase, which provides a platform for 23 female chefs to display their extraordinary culinary talents. This year, the chefs will collaborate in teams to create culinary masterpieces at the Middleby Innovation Kitchen in Dallas, Texas.

We’re thrilled that three Bon Appétit chefs – who were nominated by leaders in their respective regions – have been selected to participate. Read on to learn more about one of the participants, Kristela Nazario-Mendoza.

From humble beginnings to building a world-class food and beverage program with Bon Appétit Management Company at San Francisco’s Chase Center, Culinary Director Kristela Nazario-Mendoza is paving a path of culinary excellence. Fusing heartfelt hospitality with her wealth of knowledge of the best local ingredients, Kristela has quickly become a beacon of change for others in the sports entertainment industry.

Early on, Kristela was set on pursuing a career in law and political science but decided instead to pivot to a culinary degree from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, having been inspired by her life back at home in the Philippines. “My family owned (and still do) a bed & breakfast in the Philippines,” says Kristela. “We cooked a lot as a family and early on in my life I strived to be happy over being accomplished — cooking has led to both.”

Kristela started her culinary career as a midnight grill cook for a large hotel chain. Quickly moving up the ranks, she found herself exploring the U.S. Virgin Islands as a saucier at a resort. Once she returned to the continental U.S., Kristela worked as a sushi chef trainer for a restaurant group, and later, as a corporate executive chef for a brewery. In 2015, Kristela joined Bon Appétit Management Company where she has curated multiple restaurant concepts. In 2021, Kristela landed the Culinary Director role at the world-renowned Chase Center, Home of the Golden State Warriors. In her down time, Kristela loves to spend time with her two young daughters, go for long hikes with her dog Sven in Castro Valley, and hang out at home with her pig Biggie Smalls while she reads her favorite cookbooks.