Laura Licona is a veritable chef-of-all-trades who, above all, enjoys a locally-sourced good cause. Her background is steeped in justice-oriented anthropology, a lifestyle that has allowed her to work in women’s economic development on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border, food justice programs for youth and families, farm-to-table projects as a program developer and educator, and food redistribution and pantry programs.
Her 12 years in Seattle provided doctoral level study in Environmental and Food Anthropology, greening-up brown spaces and youth landscapes while sowing the seeds that sparked her desire to enter the commercial kitchen where she climbed the ranks to Executive Chef under the tutelage of amazing local chefs and regional cuisine.
Originally from the Southwest, she returned to Santa Fe, NM to open and operate 401, a critically acclaimed restaurant. 401 allowed Laura the opportunity to build out her kitchen from scratch as the chef and partner, and to continue her growth as a business woman and chef. She then found her way to NYC, where she worked with luminaries like Chef David Burke and Chef John Fraser of Narcissa.
Laura values the deeply rooted seeds of the local and indigenous and also understands the complex dynamics of movement, global cross-pollination, and acculturation. As the culinary director at Emma’s Torch, Chef Laura will continue to impart her love of justice, diversity and delicious food to the refugees, asylees, and survivors of human trafficking in the Emma’s Torch culinary program.