Maria Esquivel is the Chef/ creator of the CHICA brand and is currently running out of a small take-out window in San Francisco’s Financial District. With a Culinary and Business/Marketing background, she offers simple foods that are flavorful, fresh, local, and seasonal that appeal to a target market that largely resides in San Francisco.
Passion for the culinary art was sparked in Maria Esquivel at a young age when she would play restaurant in her family’s kitchen. Inspired by the culture and ethnic diversity that can be found across where she grew up, Bay Area- California. After years of being a professional sales woman, she finally went back to school to get a B.S. in Business from San Francisco State University and a certification in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu San Francisco. Right after school she started as Line cook then worked her way up to Sous Chef while conducting her own Dinner and Brunch Chicana style Pop-Ups in cities from San Francisco, New York City, Berkeley, and Oakland.
She has learned from and worked along side great Chef’s in New York City, San Francisco, and Oakland. Maria has been prepping herself for her own business for over 5 years learning the ins & outs of FOH, BOH, management, and customer service. Her advantage is working every aspect of what she is passionate for.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
CHICA, short for Chicana, specialize in Mexican-American food faire. Starting as a Food Pop-Up to Tented Vendor at San Francisco’s infamous Off the Grid, CHICA is now operating out of a small Take-Out Window in San Francisco. Offering items that a typical small café would i.e. drip coffee, fresh juices, Breakfast & Lunch options. A California-Chicana signature (Mexican-American flavors) is the influence in our foods/drink items. Food products are made from local and organic farmers as well as using mostly compostable packaging.
What is the purpose of this loan?
I plan on hiring 2 more staff members, and starting the process of finding a second location that offers a more space where we can cook, have storage, and customer seating all under one roof.
Our take out window is no larger than 85sq/ft which gives us a very limited amount of space to work out of. Each month we increase in sales/volume and find myself in between prepping in a shared commercial kitchen in Oakland, store runs, delivering all of our product to the take out window in SF and helping my team operate the window seamlessly. I need to expand my team in order to have the time I desperately need in order to expand my business.
Years in operation: 1 year – 3 years
A loan of $10,000 helps Maria hire employees to cook more fresh, local Mexican-Californian food.