Niños de Maíz - Gabe Erales
Gabe Erales has always been a firm believer in empowerment through education, as this was one of the many values instilled in him during his upbringing. While he has spent the majority of his life working in restaurants, he also obtained both a bachelors and master’s degree in mechanical engineering before completing culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. He learned that education not only prepares you for career opportunities and a network through which to excel, but also self-confidence and work ethic.
He has learned over the years that many of the young Hispanics and immigrants working in restaurants have a strong desire to attend an elite culinary institution but believe there are no resources to make these dreams a reality. The goal of the Niños de Maíz scholarship is to help empower these individuals through financial support and mentorship to help them realize their goals.
The name Niños de Maíz is derived from the historical ideology that Mesoamerica cultures were born of Maize, as this was critical to the survival of many civilizations. In parallel, as a Mexican-American Chef focusing on Mexican cuisine, I have spent a large amount of time working to source only Mexican heirloom corn in an effort to preserve these sacred varieties and nixtamalization techniques. For him this also equates to preserving our culture and community through support and continuous education.