In the bustling culinary scene of Oakland, California, one of the stand out chefs is known for her exceptional talent and unique approach to cooking. Dominica Rice-Cisneros, the mastermind behind Bombera, has captivated food enthusiasts with her innovative dishes that seamlessly blend her heritage with modern culinary techniques.
Chef Dominca Rice-Cisneros, owner of Bombera
Chef Dominica's upbringing was steeped in Mexican-American traditions, and the customs of many other cultures that surrounded her. “We grew up in a very Mexican-American, Catholic, and Filipino-American neighborhood. We never saw ourselves as minorities. We were blessed.”
Growing up in Los Angeles and being surrounded by a big family, Chef Dominica was exposed to a vibrant tapestry of flavors and aromas at an early age. Her family, hardworking individuals that worked in restaurants and as farm workers, instilled in her a deep appreciation for food and the joy it brings to people's lives.
“One memory that vividly comes to mind, is when everyone in our family came together to help my grandma make tamales. It was nice to see the process gear up to the moment of wrapping the tamales. The entire family was involved – the kids, the elders, the aunts and uncles. Everyone gathered to help.”
After honing her skills in renowned culinary institutions and working alongside esteemed chefs, Dominica found her calling in Oakland, a town known for its exciting food offerings and cultural diversity. Inspired by the community around her, she opened Bombera, a restaurant that celebrates her heritage while embracing the local flavors and ingredients of the Bay Area. And was recently named a MICHELIN Bib Gourmand in 2023.
“People always ask ‘what part of Mexico is this food from?’, and I always respond ‘from Oakland’. This type of cooking is over 200 years of Mexican-American pride but it is also a part of Oakland’s history.”
Dominica's dedication to her heritage extends beyond the kitchen. She actively collaborates with local farmers and artisans, prioritizing sustainable practices and supporting small businesses. Through her work, she strives to create a community that celebrates diversity and fosters a deeper understanding of different backgrounds through the universal language of food.
Dominica Rice-Cisneros has redefined the culinary landscape of Oakland by skillfully combining her deeply rooted past experiences with her passion for cooking. Her ability to blend the flavors and techniques of Mexican-American cuisines with the spirit of Oakland has made her a local icon, an inspiration for aspiring chefs and an admired individual - who brings communities together. Dominica's dedication to her heritage, sustainability, and community makes her an inspiration for aspiring chefs and a testament to the power of culinary artistry in bringing people together.
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