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and Lydia Castro
New Orleans, LA /

Ana Castro (Executive Chef/owner) was raised in Mexico City by her grandmother. In her grandmother’s kitchen, Ana’s curiosity awoke, not only about food’s sourcing and preparation, but also about the healing properties that a meal cooked with love and passion can bring to those who share a table. Inspired, Ana pursued a formal culinary education and then spread her wings.

She has travelled and cooked around the world, from India to Denmark, New York to New Orleans. Since laying down roots in Louisiana, Ana has worked her way up from line cook to sous chef to executive chef. In 2021, Ana opened Lengua Madre with a desire to express Mexican cuisine through her lived experience. Under her leadership, Lengua Madre was a semifinalist for the 2022 James Beard Foundation’s Best New Restaurant award and was included in both The New York Times’ 2021 “Restaurant List” and also Bon Appetit’s 2022 “50 Best New Restaurants.” She was named one of Food & Wine’s “Best New Chefs” in 2022 and went on to become a 2023 finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Chef: South.”

Ana is thrilled to start the next chapter of her career with Acamaya as, for the first time, both chef and owner, alongside her best friend and sister Lydia Castro, who will helm the front of the house.

Lydia Castro (Director of Operations/owner) grew up in Mexico City where she was surrounded by the vibrant flavors and traditions of her culture; where meals were not just about sustenance but about connection and celebration. It was at her family’s table where Lydia first discovered her love for hospitality with the intertwined influences of food and family guiding her journey through the restaurant industry ever since. She moved to New Orleans at the age of 20 and began her career in restaurants, though she was nourished her passion and skills in related fields, such as sales and marketing, as well as other hospitality adjacent odd jobs. Outside of the service industry, she became involved with reproductive healthcare access and rights, which affirmed her desire to help others. With her love of family and service, it seemed inevitable that Lydia would come to be here, leading the front of house team at Acamaya with her sister, Ana, who is the Executive Chef and co-owner. She is especially excited to be creating a sustainable and equitable workplace culture focused on the wellbeing of those around her and reflecting her strong commitment to hospitality and community.