Meet Blanca Rodriguez, the owner of Latin fusion restaurant Pimienta Bistro in Federal Way, Washington. Chef Blanca grew up in Guadalajara in a family of restauranteurs who loved to entertain and had a passion for food. She took the experiences from her family and the culinary experience she garnered to open Pimienta Bistro in 2010. The restaurant is an urban fusion of Latin American cuisine, and Blanca takes great care to create a delectable piece of art for every guest.

Get to know more about Blanca in this week’s Business Spotlight Q&A.

The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What’s something your customers may not know about you or your business?
I’ve been a chef for about 27 years, and when I opened Pimienta one of the reasons why I wanted to open my own restaurant was to do my own style of food. That’s what inspired me to open my little bistro. I was raised by a Mexican mother who was an amazing chef, even though she never called herself a chef. I learned a lot of cooking from her, but I’ve always been passionate about Europe, Italy, Spain, and France, and I spent time there. I would say my style of food is European with a Latin flare. We are a small, family-run business. I’m the chef and I create all the menus. My son that is now 22 started working for me when he was 12 and now he’s the front-of-house manager. The people who work for me have worked there for years. We’re just like a small family who are just passionate about cooking. 

As a business owner, what’s the strangest or craziest idea you’ve ever tried?
One of my tapas nights I gave everybody cow tongue crostini. I didn’t think people were going to receive it well because it’s kind of weird and some people don’t eat that kind of stuff. So I would say one of the craziest things I’ve done is that tapas night. They didn’t know what they were going to eat and they were eating stuff that if I told them what it was before I don’t think they would have had it. I would say 95% of the people were actually surprised by how much they liked it. 

What are some of your favorite local businesses and what do you love about them?
The Browns Point Diner. I know the owners, they come to my restaurant quite a bit. I know that she is a chef and she makes her own recipes. I don’t get to visit often but because I talk to them all the time about our business, I know that what they’re doing there they are putting all of their passion into it.

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