At just 36 years old, Mexico City native Karime Lopez has gained enough experience, skill, and star power over the course of her career to become the first Mexican woman honored with a Michelin star for her work as the chef de cuisine at Gucci Osteria da Massimo Botturain Florence, Italy. She’s also the only female chef to be featured in the 2020 edition of the Michelin Guide Italy.
“I am so happy for the entire team at Gucci Osteria… this award is a tribute to them and we are thrilled that our passion and commitment have been recognized in this prestigious guide,” said Lopez in a statement posted to social media. “I will continue to challenge myself to create new experiences for our guests and I am excited for what the next year will bring.”
Gucci Osteria, a two-year-old restaurant what Vogue describes as a “passion project” between the CEO of Gucci and chef Massimo Bottura, features a wide-ranging, internationally-inspired menu that goes beyond classic Italian cuisine; Lopez even serves up purple corn tostadas, a nod to her background as well as a reflection of her training. She told the Michelin Guide in an interview over the summer that gaining global experience with a diversity of food cultures has been integral to her work as a chef. “The more I eat around, the more I enrich my palate and experiences as a diner too,” she said. “I also get to see how other chefs interpret the same dishes. You have to see more and eat more, and be more open to new experiences.”
Lopez spoke to The Florentine last month about the challenges of being a woman in a male-dominated field, where she quickly recognized an absence of women in the kitchen. But she pointed out that working in different countries — from Singapore to Spain to Mexico — also exposed her to the different perceptions that cultures hold about female chefs. Ultimately, her experiences have demonstrated to her that in order to be successful in the industry, you need to have respect for your colleagues and the team that supports you. She offered some advice to aspiring chefs, telling The Florentine that hard work and confidence in oneself pays off. “Be consistent, support your colleagues, both men and women,” she also said. “Massimo Bottura encourages us all to do our best, and that’s something I want to say to everyone, not just the women chefs of tomorrow.”