Interview with Ana Villota, Chef and creator of María la Panadería

We believe in the talent, creativity, and resilience of our chefs and allies, for this reason we have developed interviews, where we will present various gastronomic projects that will inspire our community.   
On this opportunity, we have created an alliance with the segment “Who is Who”, alongside our communication ally, Juan Carlos Castillo, where every week we will talk about well-known chefs, their stories, creations, formation and inspirations. This week we present Ana Villota, chef and creator of María la Panadería.

Ana always had a personal and close relationship with food. She started to learn about this art at an early age. When she was 8, she used to prepare dinner for her grandma’s friends. Later, wanting to expand her knowledge, she studied bakery and pastry in Canada, after finishing her studies she worked for a year on the event sector. However, she was dissapointed when she realized she was working so hard for such a minimum salary, because of this she decided to work on the service sector for some years and enjoy the side of food that she liked the most: sharing with the ones she loves. After 9 years on this work, she decided to open “María la Panadería”, this was her first experience as a chef, and she hasn’t stopped since then 
María la Panadería was born as an answer to the industrialization of the bakery market in the Ecuador’s principal cities. Ana realized that many people started to develop allergies to the ingredients used on this industrial productions, like gluten. Moreover, she always remembered these moments on her childhood, when she used to go to traditional bakeries in Quito with her grandparents to buy bread and candies. As a consequence of these memories and consumer needs, Ana transformed bread into a nutritious food again and created a bakery with the principle objective of offering better quality options, that will truly deliver nutrition and food 

The biggest challenge Ana faced was to understand, conquer and educate the taste of Quito’s citizens. Because of this, María la Panadería’s recipes are canadian, american and european, but adapted to the preferences of the ecuadorian consumer. María la Panadería is a space full of proud bakers that offer a great variety of artisanal products made with their own hands, and guaranteeing an excellent quality in everything they offer; delicious food at a fair price 
During the interview, Ana prepared one of the most popular desserts of the bakery, its chocolate brownie. It is made with pure cacao in powder and decorated with a ganache made with ecuadorian República del Cacao chocolate 56%, it is the perfect balance between sweet and sour, its dense texture its delicious and it is an exquisite dessert when it is served hot accompanied by ice cream. Finally, they use cacao nibs and pieces of panela on a brioche that can also be used for french toasts. Ana learnt how to prepare this creation during one of her visits to the Maquipucuna reserve, where they gave her toasted cacao accompanied by pure panela. This combination created a mixture similar to chocolate on the mouth, which on Ana’s words makes this dessert “a perfect raw diamond”.  

Learn more about this bakery that is returning to the roots of its concept through delicious, healthy and local creations for all, on the following interview by Juan Carlos Castillo.