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Las Cholas

Las Cholas

Valeria Olivari © ffmag

Valeria Olivari is a determined chef from Peru who doesn’t let anything get in her way. After exploring much of the world, she decided to settle in Portugal, a country that won her heart at first sight. She discovered her love of cooking at the age of 17 and, despite the challenges, worked in different kitchens around the world before moving to Portugal permanently.

“Cholo/a” is a colloquial expression in many Spanish-speaking countries and refers to people whose roots and features are related to indigenous Indians. In Bolivia and Peru, the word has taken on connotations of strength and resilience in the face of adversity, reflecting the intrinsic toughness of life in the Andean mountains.

Las Cholas atisanal Alfajores

Alfajores © Las Cholas


When Olivari decided to start her own business, she chose the name “Las Cholas” in tribute to the courageous and tenacious women who live in the Andes. However, she also had a second intention: to claim her own identity and connection to these strong women. For Olivari, the word “Chola” means strength, resilience and overcoming difficulties. She describes herself as strong, determined, hard-working and stubborn, someone who is intent on achieving her objectives regardless of the obstacles in her way.

After years of working in different restaurants and facing challenges such as a lack of financing and the pandemic, Olivari has used her self-sacrificing and resilient approach to achieve one of her dreams: opening her own workshop-kitchen. And thanks to her alfajores and empanadas, she has become an ambassador for Andean cooking in Portugal. Her overwhelming success has even seen her sell her products in El Corte Inglés stores.

Artisanal Empanadas. Las Cholas

Empanadas © Las Cholas

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