RECIPE: Mexican Piloncillo Cookies

Larissa Esquivel, chef and owner of Violeta Patisserie & Catering, was born and raised in Mexico City, where she was exposed to traditional Mexican cuisine and baking.

After getting a B.A. in Graphic Design, she decided to pursue a culinary degree (Cordon D’Or Culinary Diploma), to fulfill a life-long desire to professionally learn about cooking. She also holds a Baking & Pastry Arts Certificate from The Culinary Institute of America and has continued her culinary education taking courses with world-renowned chefs such as Christophe Michalak (at the time Executive Pastry Chef at Hotel Crillon, Paris), Christophe Adam (at the time Executive Pastry Chef at Fauchon) and Paco Torreblanca (Spanish pastry chef extraordinaire), amongst others. She keeps up to date in trends and techniques in Toronto by attending courses at George Brown College. It was by chance that a friend asked her to cater an office event. At that moment, over 15 years ago, her culinary career was born.  She has not looked back ever since. She went on to cater to international cosmetic brands, including L’Oréal, Lancome, Helena Rubinstein, Khiel’s, Vichy, Biotherm and Chanel, and a wide number of private customers.

Chef Larissa has also taught at Universidad Anahuac (Mexico City) and has recipe development experience for food companies. While pursuing her culinary degree she entered and was awarded first place (El Sartén  de Oro) in a culinary competition hosted by the Mexican chapter of Les Toques Blanches. 

After relocating to Toronto with her family five years ago, Chef Larissa has had the challenge of adapting to a new country while building her business from scratch. It is through Violeta Patisserie & Catering that she looks to add to the city’s vibrant, multicultural mosaic. A believer in helping others, Chef Larissa volunteers with the baking group at St. Anselm’s church, where they raise money for good causes. When not in the kitchen, Chef Larissa enjoys reading her ever-growing 400 cookbook collection, listening to her boys practice violin and cello, having coffee with her friends and wine with her husband.