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7 Local Chefs Who Turned the Tables

Owner and chef at Enchiladas Ole has been recognized as one of Fort Worth's Top 7 Female Chefs! Read the except from the article below:

Few women run Fort Worth kitchens. We talked to a few exceptions to find out how they broke through the smoky glass ceiling. 

“I wore high heels and suits to work every day,” says Mary Patino, who left her corporate job to sell enchilada sauce in person in grocery stores and eventually opened Enchiladas Ole with no professional culinary experience. “I don’t think I could wear a pair of heels now. I wear tennis shoes all day. But I’ve become more comfortable and a better person because I’ve learned to appreciate everything that comes with hard work and labor.” 

Since opening her restaurant nearly three years ago, Patino, 49, has drawn crowds for her scratch-made enchiladas and Tex-Mex dishes and has been featured on the Cooking Channel. She says she grew up alongside her mother in the kitchen, a place she never saw her brothers.

“That wasn’t their place in a Hispanic family. They were out working,” she says.

Not only is leaving the guaranteed paycheck of the corporate world to open a restaurant extremely difficult, Patino says, the industry itself does not cater to women.

“Women who start their own restaurants have a whole lot more challenges. A lot of the restaurant supply stores are not women-friendly. There are cases of supplies that are 60 to 100 pounds and are geared more toward males,” Patino says. “I don’t want to say I’m the weaker sex, but it is what it is.”

Two of Patino’s three sons now help her in the restaurant, which recently expanded to a larger space.


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