Women’s History Month Episode 1: Maria Mazon, Gabrielle Thomas & Wendy Garcia

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re spotlighting nine badass chefs.

Some are business owners that have been in the game for years — others are sous chefs that worked their way up straight out of culinary school. All are notable female chefs in the Tucson culinary scene.

In the inaugural episode for the Women’s History Month series, we sit down with owner-chefs Wendy Garcia and Maria Mazon and sous chef Gabrielle Thomas.

All three are passionate about letting their creativity show in their dishes. Their love for color, texture, and experimentation with flavors helps set them apart.

BOCA Tacos y Tequila chef Mazon’s lack of formal culinary education never stopped her from pursuing her career as a chef. She’s known for her adventurous salsas because she isn’t afraid to push her tastebud-boundaries. “My cooking is like the first date […]” she said. “I promise once you try my cooking, you will ask her to marry you.”

Tumerico’s chef Garcia has worked in restaurants for 20 years, but her change of diet and lifestyle is what sparked her creativity. “I grew up eating good quality food, then I moved here and started eating a lot of fast food,” she said. “I became sick. I was introduced to yoga, I just wanted to become healthy. Becoming a vegan made me more creative.”

Pennsylvania-native and sous chef Gabrielle Thomas made her way to Arizona immediately after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America. “I think I was more excited than scared,” she said. “I had no job, I had no car, I had no place to live.” Thomas describes her cooking as creative, adaptive and colorful, and her nothing-to-lose attitude and playful outlook on her dishes demonstrate her perspective.

Shana Rose is a Tucson-based food writer and videographer.