Great ingredients. Simple recipes. Delicious food.

Sobremesa Orlando Logo

About Us

My name is Maria Rivera,
and I am the chef behind Sobremesa.

Childhood

Sobremesa is the conversation that happens at the table, usually after a meal.

Since I was young, I have always loved this word. It is why I love food and cooking. It describes a sense of community, family, and unity that I believe is encouraged by a good meal.

As a child, I enjoyed watching family in the kitchen (and getting in on the action, whenever I could). That joy developed into a passion that I grew by honing my kitchen skills, mostly through trial and error.

Living in Seattle

In 2009, I moved from South Florida to Seattle, Washington to work for Amazon. This was my first experience living outside of Florida, and I wanted to make the most of it. I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and shopped at local farmer’s markets, and I ate at lots of local restaurants and cooked as much as I could. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I wanted to incorporate cooking into my career. I was lucky enough to have a supportive family who encouraged me to quit my job and follow my dreams.

After a few years in Seattle, I decided that it was time to start thinking about changing careers. I discussed the options with my then-boyfriend (now-husband), and we decided that it was time for me to leave my job, and the corporate world, to do something in food. Since I wanted to start a business, I knew that I had to leave Seattle. My family is all on the East Coast, and I couldn’t imagine building a whole life that far away from them. So, we packed up and moved to Orlando without a real plan.

Returning to Orlando

When I moved to Orlando, I had no idea what to do, but I knew I wanted to work with food.

A month after moving, I walked into The Ancient Olive and immediately fell in love with the store. I became a regular customer, and within a few months, I started working there. Since then, my life has never been the same.

The owners (Jeffrey Schrader and Bryan Behling) have supported me, my talents, and my dreams during the time I worked with them, and I can honestly say that I would not be here without them.

Kernel Desires

With their help and encouragement, in 2013, I started Kernel Desires, where I made and sold gourmet candied and spiced nuts throughout Central Florida.

While this business got me closer to my goals, it did not allow me to be as creative as I wanted to be. Kernel Desires will always have a special place in my heart, and it may be back one day, but it is currently on hiatus, while I develop Sobremesa.

Sobremesa

Being a small business has made me really appreciate shopping small and local, and I try to do that as much as possible as Sobremesa.

I love to share my love of food and cooking with the people around me. My food philosophy is great ingredients plus simple techniques make delicious meals. I do not believe that food needs to be complicated or time consuming. This is how I cook for families and parties, and it is also how I teach my cooking classes. I always tell my students that I made lots of mistakes in the kitchen so that you can learn from them. My cooking classes are held around the Orlando area. I am also available to come to your home for private cooking classes or team building events.

Thanks for reading. I can’t wait to meet you and work with you soon!

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