Catriona Brown was born in Sydney, Australia to an artistically inclined, bohemian family. Although she spent her time organising the neighbour’s children into theatre productions and street olympics, she wanted to study medicine. Theatre won in the end, enticing her to leave home to study Drama at University in Adelaide and then to a life in theatre and television. In Sydney, she moved into the production of film and television and major live events. Sprinkled throughout her entertainment career were many opportunities to travel the world. 43 countries and 143 cities later, Cat is still going strong. She counts among her highest pleasures the sampling of food fare from street stalls in Vietnam to five star restaurants in New York, all with equal enthusiasm.
In 2002, Cat discovered a little bit of heaven: Puerto Morelos, in the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. She made it her home, lhe launched a successful dive shop and built four houses.
Bringing The Little Mexican Cooking School to life is her latest major project and is an exciting way for her to help bring Puerto Morelos to the world stage. Catriona owns and manages The Little Mexican Cooking School and Casa Caribe Bed and Breakfast. She also is the administrator for the town charity, El Mundo para Puerto Morelos and in her spare time plays polo with her horses Mandarina and Popeye.
"I call myself a food diplomat" she says "changing thousands of people’s perception of Mexican food and its wonderful people". Catriona Brown was also a finalist as Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2012 for the International Association of Culinary Professionals conference in New York.
Chef Pablo Lopez Espinosa de los Monteros was teaching chef from October 2010 to September 2012.
Pablo delighted Puerto Morelos with his delicious appetizers for the 2012 series of Wine Tastings and has helped create a new town tradition, Sunday Brunch at Casa Caribe. He has now opened his own restaurant on the town square of Puerto Morelos, El Nicho, for breakfast and lunch and lives in the colonia with is wife and daughter.
Patti Murphy was there at the beginning of The Little Mexican Cooking School creating new menus, new ideas and strategies for the emerging school. She was integral to the design of the website and creation of our popular cookbook and worked for 2 years nurturing the school’s development. Murphy began her culinary career waiting on tables then in her next career path as TV Producer, she was able to fuse her passion for food with her job on the Food Network Canada show:Chuck’s Day Off and 52 episodes of an ‘Iron Chef for kids’ series for CBC called Surprise It’s Edible Incredible.
In October 2012 Chef Cristóbal Tamariz joined the school and developed 7 new menus, each from different culinary regions of Mexico.
Chef Cristóbal Tamariz was born in central Mexico to a traditional Mexican family where the smell of burning wood, cooking tortillas, tamales or bread was common in his childhood. His biggest influences are his mother and grandmother who cook traditional Mexican recipes they learned through the ethnic groups of Hidalgo and Veracruz. After studying technical chemistry, Chef Cristobal decided to study gastronomy in Puebla. Five years in the university gave him the motivation to gather more professional knowledge. He then decided to specialize in Mexican cuisine. Chef Cristobal grew in his career by working in different restaurants and five star hotels in Chicago, Spain and Mexico. He also gave classes in the International Culinary Center in Puebla city and discovered his passion for teaching. Chef Cristobal also completed a course in management administration, certified by Harvard.
Chef Cristobal believes strongly that “the best way to preserve the culture in a country is to keep and share the traditions as much as possible. One incredible way to do that is through food, full of flavors, aroma and steeped in history”.
Jeff Martinez has been a guest chef at The Little Mexican Cooking School. With 21 years of experience, he is best known as the Chef de Cuisine at Fonda San Miguel, a fabulous high end Mexican restaurant in Austin, Texas.
Alan Kerr has been a guest chef at The lIttle Mexican Cooking School. Alan teaches at the Niagara Culinary Institute in Canada and brought with him many years expereince and some great new techniques for the students.
Claudia García Ramos was the chef from our first season and brought a wealth of personal experience. Claudia now gives cooking classes in her home a good alternative when we are fully booked, which happens often, now.