Sylvia Casares is the owner of Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen and author of the critically acclaimed cookbook, The Enchilada Queen Cookbook.
Casares’s professional culinary career began in 1976 at Uncle Ben’s Rice, where she worked as a Research Home Economist and spent three years in the test kitchens conducting sensory evaluation taste panels, recipe testing, and assisting in recipe development. Then, a promotion to the product development labs led to a seven-year stint in flavor development, the scientific method of developing a prototype or formula and measuring acutely to ensure consistency.
After 10 years at Uncle Ben’s, Casares decided to make a career change to food service sales, and the next eight years provided extensive exposure to and interaction with chefs and restaurant owners. Casares noticed that most Tex-Mex restaurants were serving dishes that lacked the authentic flavors of her childhood. She felt that she could exceed “average” with her acute sense of taste and educated palate.
In 1995, she took the plunge and bought a small existing restaurant in Rosenberg, Texas, southwest of Houston. She renamed it Camino Real and spent the next two years honing her restaurateur skills. In 1998, she opened her first eponymous restaurant, Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen, and the rest, as they say, is history. She currently has a triad of successful Sylvia’s Enchilada Kitchen locations in Houston. Casares sources ingredients from local suppliers, and the menu is divided by dish origin.
The Enchilada Queen Cookbook has been in Amazon's Best 10 of the Month pick for Cooking, Food, and Wine. Publishers Weekly dubbed it “the only Tex-Mex cookbook you’ll ever need.”
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