Juana Gonzales

Juana Gonzales from Kokopelli Mexican Cantina

finaldsc04432In a culinary world of Mexican restaurants where frozen entrees that are quickly re-heated rule the majority of our dining choices, one little gem in Prairie Village, KS. is setting a new standard for quality and is leading the charge with a guest first mentality. And this is really no surprise… the owners of Kokopelli and its Chef have been doing this for 9 years and they are still serving up authentic and mind blowing Mexican fare to the KC metro area.

Juana has been the Head Chef at Kokopelli for 5 years. This 40 year old culinary gem has been serving up palate teasing dishes for more than 20 years. “I’ve been in this business for maybe too long”, she answered when asked “Why did you chose this as a career path?” Nonsense I say!!. I asked her then, “Do you have passion for what you do?” She lit up like a tree on Christmas. Then she responded “Yes. I love what I do. I really love making people very happy”. And she does so with her passionate culinary expertise. Everything Juana makes is FRESH and never frozen.

Juana has been slicing and dicing her way up the culinary ladder for quite some time in the KC area. She worked in Italian cuisine for a short time and then landed at Hannah Bistro for a number of years. Juana studied under Chef Max Miller as a pastry chef where she was known to her co-workers as “The Pantry Goddess”.

revisedkokopelliAlthough Juana has a diverse resume in the restaurant business, her favorite cuisine to eat and to prepare along with her staff of 12 cooks that train underneath her, is Mexican. You might not be able to ask for a better fit for her than Kokopelli.

It might be strange to some that Juana’s favorite area in the restaurant that she calls home is one table in the cocktail area near the bar. I can’t blame her, but… She said she just loves to see the customers enjoying what she put her heart into.

Juana is a little ray of sunshine in a cuisine that most customers may be desensitized to, due to a lack of passion or an over use of a microwave. Kansas City… are you ready for some fresh Mexican food? Juana’s Chile Rellenos are made fresh every day. Never frozen. She would love to make them for you too.