My name is Claudia Alarcón. My story begins in Mexico City where I was born and raised in the mostly happy home of a lower-middle class family. My mother is a fantastic and resourceful cook, and I started learning from her as soon as I was old enough to hold a knife and reach the stove. Although we didn’t have much money, both my parents were quite the gourmands – I always like to say they raised me with a millionaire’s taste on a poor man’s budget. From them I inherited my passion for home cooking, fine food and wine, and most of all to appreciate what I have and not waste anything. Like my mother, I have learned to make dinner out of nothing.

Because I had always been independent and adventurous, I decided to move to Austin since 1984 when I was just 19 years old. For 15 years I held different jobs in many local restaurants and catering companies, and finally enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin at the age of 30. I received my bachelor’s degree with honors in Anthropology in 1999, with a minor in Latin American Studies. I have since become an independent researcher on gastronomy and foodways, and have been writing professionally since 2000 for various local and national publications.

As a child I traveled far and wide across my own country with my family. Through the years I have managed to continue my travels, visiting Guatemala, Belize, Alaska (it really should be another country!), South Africa, Cuba, Brazil, and Finland, always interested in the local cuisine and botany. I also have been a plant lover since childhood, and been gardening for over 20 years, practicing organic techniques to grow edible and ornamental gardens that remind me a bit of Mexico.

CuisineXplorers is my virtual home. Here, I share my published writing as well as original content with ideas for traveling, cooking, and gardening in a sustainable way. It is also a home for my knowledge of Mexican cuisine, traditions, recipes, and travel, and a launch pad for customized culinary trips to Mexico City and beyond.

Claudia Alarcon

Yes, that is a real crab, stuffed inside a bottle of Brazilian firewater. Of course I tasted it.