EDUCATION

AS Food & Beverage Management

(Program included a year of culinary arts)

 

BA Business Administration

 

MBA

Marketing

Biography

Hola! I am Chef Maira Isabel. I am an Award-Winning Chef, a culinary innovator and some consider me a trendsetter in the Food Service & Culinary Industry. In 2017 I was named one of Fast CasualMagazine Movers & Shakers.
 
For over 3 years, I was the Corporate Executive Chef and VP of Research and Development of Schlotzky’s/ FOCUS Brands. There, I lead the department where I was in charge of creating new menu items, Limited Time Offers (LTO’s), Costing Recipes (COGS), Franchisee Relations, Operation Efficiency and so much more. My creations can still be enjoyed in more than 375 restaurants nationwide.  Alongside with my team, we engineered and developed the menu and recipes for the new evolution/prototype of the brand “ Schlotzsky’s Austin Eatery ”.


After my tenure at FOCUS Brands I became the Senior Corporate Executive Chef at Subway HQ a job where I was in charge of developing new builds, LTO’s and representing the brand as needed both in the national market composed 40,000 units worldwide of which 27,000 are in the USA.

Prior to joining FOCUS Brands, I worked at Disney World Golf Courses as their Executive Chef. This job presented an exciting challenge while at the same time was an honor to be the first Hispanic and woman to undertake this role.  Also, I was the Puerto Rico Ambassador and Puerto Rico Executive Chef at the Epcot Food and Wine Fest 2014 (EFWF).  Here, I conducted 23 live cooking & beverage demos, developed and created -alongside Epcot's culinary team- the recipes for the Puerto Rico Marketplace. What's more, I was among the chosen 20 chefs to present at the EFWF signature event; “The Party of the Senses” a world-class event; known as Orlando’s ultimate culinary event.​

For 15 years, I had the pleasure of working as a chef and talent for numerous television shows.  These include  “Tu Mañana”- Univisión PR, & Levantate – Telemundo which aired live in Latin America & 26 Countries and coast to coast in the US,  “En Todas” WIPR - PR PBS Station and Sabores de Familia -Fox Utilísima Network (Latin America's do-it-yourself network). These shows are no longer in
production. I was the hostess of the Bizarre Food Puerto Rico show on The Travel Channel and Hook, Line and Dinner on the Cooking Channel among other USA national television networks.

 

In print and on-line media,  I’ve been featured on numerous publications including Restaurant News Magazine, Food & Beverage Magazine, Flavors and the Menu Magazine, 1851Franchaise.com,  Fast Casual Magazine, Atlanta Business Journal Newspaper, Latina List  Blog, Atlanta Business Chronicle Newspaper, Atlanta Magazine, Caras Magazine, El Nuevo Dia newspaper, The San Juan Star Newspaper, Imagen Magazine, Vea Magazine, and Buena Vida Magazine just to mention a few.


For over 20 years I owned Chef Maira Isabel SVC’s,  now CMI Culinary Group, LLC a culinary foodservice consulting firm, where I offer an extensive line of services all related to the culinary arts. These include Recipe and Product Development, Brand Ambassador, Food and Prop Styling, FoodService and Culinary Teaching and Lifestyle & Culinary Reporter. Some of my former and current clients include: Atlanta Bread Company, Saige Chef Meal Delivery, Florida Dairy Association, KFC
(Yum Brands Puerto Rico), Hot Potato Fast Food Chain, Avon Makeup, Smuckers, Mazola Oils, Ritz Crackers (US Hispanic Market), Carmela Sausages, American Military Academy of PR, Matosantos Food Service Distribution, The Government of Puerto Rico, Casiano Communications, Unilever, Arco Advertising and Walmart Puerto Rico among many others.
 
Like most chefs, one of my lifelong dreams was to open my own restaurant. The paradisiac Island of Culebra in Puerto Rico was the perfect location and Guava Restaurant operated from 2012 to 2015. The menu featured worldwide flavors with Caribbean fusions. It was an honor to cook for many tourists, locals and celebrities alike.
 
Besides cooking, I am passionate about teaching and coming from a long line of teachers, it was something I simply had to do.  In 2007 I opened Let’s Cook PR" a Cooking School, where for more than 7 years I taught students -of all levels- the beauty of the wonderful world of cooking. Another dream was to publish a cookbook. Thanks to the support of many people and mostly of the viewers of the TV and radio shows I was and had been on “Gourmet Para Todos Los Días” (Gourmet for Every Day) got published in 2011.  Within a week it went on to be the #1 cookbook in Puerto Rico and stay as such for more than 10 straight weeks. I also wrote another book, this time a children book called How Angels Become Babies, a story about adoption.

If you have ever heard me talk to you, know I have a very strong accent. Trust me is real! I was lucky - and very proud- to be born into a culturally diverse family coming from Cuba, Venezuela, Spain and Puerto Rico where I grew up and spend my childhood. I am bilingual (English/Spanish) currently learning French, Portuguese and Italian. In my free time, I enjoy traveling – especially cruises- and
have visited over 30 counties. Of course, I adore cooking, wines, painting (I was an art major in college at first), photography and my collection of menus and cookbooks are getting out of hand with
around 775 menus and 1200+ cookbooks.

If I have missed anything here, feel free to email me. I am always delighted to hear from all of you! 

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