Interview no. 1680


Antonio Eliaz Lopéz


Meredith E. Abarca


El Paso Food Voices


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Summary of Interview

Antonio Eliaz Lopéz became a cook once he developed a relationship with fire. As Lopéz reflects on his path of becoming a cook, he speaks of his relationship with food, fire, water, air and the earth in terms of a spiritual journey. Native of Dallas, TX., Lopéz first came to El Paso in 1986 and held his first job in the food industry in the area working at UTEP’s food service as a catering manager. In the early 1900s, he moved to the Austin area where eventually became the cook of an organization called “Alma de Mujer,” a center for social changed owned by indigenous network of women. The center was located near Lake Travis and had plenty of space for the cultivation of herbs, vegetables and fruits trees. One lesson that Lopéz learned working at this center from his female cooking mentors that now influence his views on cooking was the value of returning to what he calls “our ancestral gardens.” His oral story focuses on recalling his mentors and his spiritual-cooking development, and how these two shape what he believes captures “what a cook does”: create spaces for a reconnection to “our” ancestral culinary origins. While he makes a living as a professional cook, he often offers platicas/workshops as part of the Border-Food Project share with others, or remind others, about the health, balance culinary diet embedded within the siete guerreros (the seven warriors): corn (tlaolli), beans (etl), squash (tzilacayohtli), amaranth (huauhtli), cacti (nopalli), chile (chilli), chia (chian).

Date of Interview


Length of Interview

1 hour

Tape Number

No. 1680

Interview Number

No. 1680

Terms of Use



For information on obtaining a transcript of this interview, please contact The Institute for Oral History

1680 Lopez, Antonio Eliaz.summary.pdf (85 kB)
Interview Cover Sheet

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