Chef Carmen Trigueros celebrates the tradition of well-being found in the Mediterranean lifestyle by combining the ingredients of Italy, Provence, and Spain’s Basque region together with a dash of Miami’s own Latin flair. The result is a versatile array of culinary offerings available at La Bottega by Carmen Trigueros, and its private membership wine club, La Cava. They are part of the trilogy of restaurants in the court garden setting at 3660 Main Highway in Coconut Grove, that also includes Calamari Italian Restaurant and the legendary Taurus Bar.
La Bottega is Carmen’s domain, where her carefully designed dishes, from freshly concocted tapas to enjoy with wine, to elegant multi-course dinners served in the intimate private dining room at La Cava, can be experienced.
Carmen attended the Restaurant School of Philadelphia in 1990, continuing her education at the prestigious Culinary Institute of New York in 1994, where she honed her skills and techniques in professional catering and food styling. At the time, Philadelphia’s premiere fine dining restaurant Le Bec-Fin was close to Carmen’s heart. There, she started her culinary career, working with the renowned chef Georges Perrier. Seeking new challenges and fresh inspiration, Carmen took the next step in her career by travelling to Spain to work with “the father of new Spanish cuisine,” chef Juan Mari Arzak. In 1996, Carmen headed to Milan to work with the Michelin-starred chef Claudio Sadler. There she continued to experiment with international flavors, while further absorbing the extravagant world of haute cuisine. A year later, she traveled to Paris to work at the Ritz Hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant L’Espadon. While in Paris, in July 1997, Carmen joined the most highly-esteemed fine food purveyors in the world, Fauchon. The influence of this extraordinary time spent in Paris continues to inform her cuisine.
In 1999 Carmen extended her culinary reach from classic French to contemporary French-American cuisine when working for New York's great four-star chef, Daniel Boulud.
In 2002 she accepted an invitation to experiment molecular gastronomy at one of the world’s most famous restaurants, the incomparable elBulli in Roses, Spain.
Back in Philadelphia, brimming with European influence and her grandmother’s penchant for detail, Carmen established Gala Functions. Named in Philadelphia Style magazine’s “The Hot List in Philly– High-End Caters,” the firm dominated Philadelphia’s industry for five consecutive years. With her ongoing passion for learning, Carmen also managed to attend the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the nation's first collegiate business school
Carmen’s recipes have been featured in Bon Appetit and Gourmet magazines. From 1994 to 2000, her column, “La Cocina de Carmen” was syndicated in major newspapers of Latin America. Her food styling and page layouts brought a first prize award to the Chambord cookbook. In November, 2005, Carmen was the featured executive chef in Vogue Trend Watch, the television show produced by Vogue magazine, reaching 78 million households on the major US networks. In 2007 she was invited as the executive chef for St. Germain Liqueur at the Guggenheim Museum where she developed a unique series of recipes, all using the unique elderflower taste of the upscale French liqueur.
Carmen continues evolve her culinary experience through regular attendance at such distinguished international congresses in Europe as Spain’s Lo Mejor de la Gastronomia and Madrid Fusión, and continues to attend multiple culinary trade shows throughout the USA.
Her civic and charity involvement includes regular participation in national fundraising events and world-renowned foundations such as the Breast Health Institute, American Red Cross, Animal Alliance, and La Casa del Nino, an orphanage and school for children of La Romana, in the Dominican Republic founded by Oscar de la Renta.
Now established in Miami, Carmen draws inspiration from the city’s unique diversity of cultures, “Miami is an evocative blend of savory, natural and robust,” she says. “It is an ideal place from which to launch a world of flavors!”