Daniela Soto-Innes, the chef de cuisine at New York restaurant Cosme, is remarkably similar to the dishes she creates—lively, intense, vibrant, and spicy when you least expect it (in her own kitchen, she alternates hugs with laser-like focus—you should see this woman inspect a plate). A protegée of the world-renowned Mexican chef Enrique Olvera, she burst onto the dog-eat-dog Manhattan food scene in 2014, snapping up rave reviews and gaining a reputation for what few chefs would consider a compliment: being genuinely nice, and having fun in the kitchen. (Her secret: It makes the food taste better.)
I realized that the best kitchens are the happiest kitchens. I was like, ‘I can’t be miserable and thinking I’m not good at my job’—no wonder I was exhausted. I’m only going to be good at my job if I enjoy it.