• Elizabeth Kirkhorn

An Expression of Genuine Love and Heritage


Over 18 years ago, Maria Alicia Ramirez De Lopez was inspired by her love of family and tradition to pursue a lifelong culinary career at Tapatio Cliffs. Her passion for food didn’t hurt either! Alicia, as she is known, brings a strong work ethic and a knack for traditional Mexican cuisine to our ballroom kitchen.

Hailing from the small city of Piepad in south central Mexico, Alicia, the oldest sibling, learned to cook with her mother at an early age. They never used a cookbook, or even a written recipe. It was all engrained to her memory while assisting her mother in preparing meals for the whole family, week in and week out. It wasn’t long before Alicia knew how crucial fresh ingredients are to the base of a meal, and how essential it is to be honest in preparing your food. No shortcuts, ever! Her mother’s hard work, dedication, love of fine food were what Alicia admired most. And the time spent together with the family, made it all worthwhile.

During her childhood, Piepad was at the heart of the Mexican pork industry. Just as it was a part of Piepad, it was a part of Alicia’s family as they made tender slow braised carnitas and, of course, traditional tamales around Christmastime. When it came to beef, she remembers how passionate the whole family was about their mouthwatering marinated carne asada.

In a country known for its bold cuisine, Alicia mastered dishes that partnered juicy pork, chicken and beef with vibrant vegetable combinations, homemade tortillas and of course her family’s signature roasted tomato salsa. The charred smoky flavor that comes from roasting the tomatoes, chilies, onion and garlic added depth and richness to the dishes.

Tapatio Cliffs is proud to have Alicia on our culinary team. She enjoys the freedom to bring to authentic southwestern cooking into our ballroom menus and has earned the right to prepare and display the food in the manner that she learned back in Piepad. With her keen attention to quality and beauty our guests rave about the food Alicia puts so much pride and love into every day!

Original Publication (pg. 48):

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