Javier Zamora Rios
Javier Zamora Rios is the owner and proprietor of Hacienda Santa Barbara. Native of Huamantla, Javier loves to share his passion for Tlaxcaltecan culture and food with newcomers to the area. Javier is passionate about preserving the original essence of the hacienda and in conserving culinary and cultural traditions of his native Tlaxcala. Beyond only the food, Javier is also excited to introduce our guests to the temazcal - a ritualistic steam bath representing rebirth and reconnection with nature and the elements.
Joel Pérez was born in Nealtican, Puebla, and lived many years in New York City where his interest in the vegetarian cuisine initiated. Brought back to Mexico by a desire to reconnect to his roots, he now calls Tlaxcala home and works tirelessly to ensure that the hacienda is moving closer to self-sustainability. After realizing the abundance of ingredients that are unique to Mexico, he began to experiment more with the vegetarian culinary art. He finds soul healing from sharing his salads and creations [all collected from our greenhouse] with our guests and seeing their happy faces.
Ambien Mitchell was born and raised in North Carolina in the southern United States and lived and worked many years in New York City before arriving to Tlaxcala, her home away from home. In love with her life in Mexico, she helps select seeds and to design the hacienda’s gardens and shared spaces. She also leads the hacienda’s educational outreach, giving English lessons in the local communities. Humbled and amazed by everything she learns in Mexico, she is excited to share her admiration with visitors. She and Joel will serve as your guides and translators for the duration of your visit.
Maria Alejandra Mila Juárez
Maria is from and lived the majority of her life in Chapultepec, Huamantla. When Maria was thirteen years old, her mother passed away. At this point, her father began guiding and teaching her how to cook in the traditional tlaxcaltecan style of her mother. From then on, she has always been the chef of her household. She worked several years as a personal chef in Apizaco and in Mexico City before returning to her roots in Chapultepec. For her, the most important and representative dish of Tlaxcala is the mole tlaxcalteca because of the unique combination of ingredients required to create the delicious flavor. Maria is our resident maestra of maiz (corn), making us fresh, handmade tortillas and atoles using ground corn harvested from her own land. She is excited to meet you and share her knowledge with you!
Maria Elena García Montes
Doña Elena is one of Tlaxcala's most celebrated experts in traditional tlaxcaltecan cuisine and often appears at expositions around the state. Elena lives in the small community of Javier Mina, which sits on the border of Tlaxcala and Puebla and in the skirts of La Malinche. This unique location allows her to be our resident expert in the incredible variety of mushrooms that grow in La Malinche, and thanks to her dehydrating, we are able to have delicious and diverse mushroom varieties year-round.
Galo Hernández Martinez
Galo is from the nearby San José Teacalco, where he lives with his mother and son. Galo learned to cook traditional tlaxcaltecan cuisine from his mother and learned to be a temazcalero from his father - knowledge he is now passing on to his son. Galo is our expert on medicinal and culinary herbs that are native to the area - many which grow like weeds in the fields! In addition to being a talented chef and an excellent temazcalero, Galo is a skilled masseur. His massage services are always available to our guests!
Carlos Hernández Juárez
Don Carlos began working at the hacienda under previous ownership, when he was only twelve. His first job within the hacienda was taking care of the young calves. After working some years outside, he returned to work within the hacienda once it was opened to the public as a hotel/restaurant. Don Carlos maintains our gardens and patios, is our faithful night watchman, collects firewood for our guests with the help of Enrique, his loyal donkey, and tells the best legends and ghost stories. He is our resident expert on the history of the hacienda, and is happy to answer any questions!
Gabriel Luna Victoriano
Gabriel Luna Victoriano was born and raised in Chapultepec, Huamantla. He is the hacienda’s maestro of construction and reparations, but is also our resident renaissance man thanks to his vast knowledge of animals, plants, and natural resources. Gabriel handles all reparations and new construction within the property, and also faithfully leaves us his sheep to help us produce compost for our gardens.