Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza is known for her award-winning cuisine as well as her advocacy within the Latino community. She is also a fierce supporter of the arts. She recently closed one of her restaurants during the pandemic, but turned the space next to her remaining restaurant into a walk-by gallery. She reimagined the space for social distancing and so passersby can enjoy the artwork through the windows. She also commissioned several murals by local artists to make sure they still had an income. Esparza discusses the intersection between her love of art, activism and food.
“When I created the Barrio Cafe logo, I put ‘food, art, spirits.’ It was part of the description and it still is.” Chef Silvana likes to wait for her artists to come to her. It’s inspired by Chicano art and culture. Although, she does mention she has an empty space in need of art.
Chef Silvana closed down both restaurants in the beginning of the pandemic out of health concerns. Despite closing one of her restaurants permanently, she’s looking for the positive. Her love for arts is shown through her display in her restaurant. Chef Silvana wants to support artists by showing their artwork without charging a fee for commission.