From Bake Sales to Bakeries

Levi Strauss & Co.
September 2, 2011

Six years ago, Maria and Luis de la Luz Vazquez had a vision of serving up Mexican food that went beyond the typical fare of tacos and quesadillas. That’s when they began sharing their traditional Mayan cuisine with the world.

They began pursuing their dream by cooking out of their own kitchen and selling their specialties out of their home and outside subway stations. They named their company Chaac-Mool, after the Mayan god of rain.

“You should contact La Cocina,” a neighbor told them. “They might be able to help you.”

That’s when they came to us.

La Cocina is a pioneering nonprofit in San Francisco supported by the Levi Strauss Foundation that assists low-income women like Maria go from “bake sales to bakeries,” helping them launch and grow their own food businessesin San Francisco.

Since joining La Cocina, Chaac-Mool has helped Maria and Luis move their family to a more comfortable home, buy a car and save for their children’s education.

For many women, the challenge isn’t cooking amazing food or making a little money on the side; the challenge is growing a stable business that provides a full-fledged livelihood.  We provide a commercial kitchen that they can rent at a low cost. We also give them financial, business and marketing assistance.

Over time, these women may open their own restaurants, offer catering services or develop packaged food to sell on supermarket aisles across the nation.

I’m proud to be part of an organization making a positive impact for women and their families. We believe in women’s ability to drive businesses and gain financial stability. Through their efforts, Maria and Luis have not only transformed their own lives, they’ve also transformed and inspired their communities.

Thank you, Levi Strauss & Co. and Levi Strauss Foundation, for your help in supporting Maria, Luis and all of us at La Cocina.

Learn more about the amazing work we’re doing in San Francisco: