Exclusive Video Interview with Anastacia “AQ” Quiñones, New Executive Chef at Alma on Henderson Ave.

Anastacia "AQ" Quiñones, the newest executive chef on Henderson Ave. (photo by Sarah Reiss)

She may be young by chefs’ standards (30), but Tristan Simon feels confident that Anastacia “AQ” Quiñones is ready to helm the ship at Henderson Avenue’s favorite regional Mexican watering hole. Today, Alma rolls out a totally tweaked menu, with AQ’s touches on nearly every dish, from the watermelon in the street corn snacks to the chicken in the chiles rellenos.

With the departure of Michael Brown, Simon moved Quiñones into the spot, telling her, “You were born to be an executive chef.” To which she humbly replied, “I was born to be a cook.” She comes by her humility honestly: she worked her way through CIA, perfected her craft at Jardinière in San Francisco, but more than these, her modesty stems from a family-centered youth spent in Dallas, on Henderson Avenue specifically, and a respect for the heritage passed down from mother to daughter. (Check out the part in the interview below when she talks about her mother learning to cook for her Highland Park employer by watching Sesame Street.)

jump for some more eye candy and the video……

Quinones' chiles rellenos sit atop chicken and are surrounded with Michoan avocadoes (left). Bursts of vibrance (right).
Quinones' revamped enchiladas rojo.

Don't worry, the lounge is still textile-central (left); prepping orchids for the evening's cocktails (right).


  • nael

    I’m sure the prior chef brought something to the table. But when all is said and done you can’t replace the touch of someone brought up eating and cooking the food they cherish. It’s like the love put into your moms favorite dish. It’s something that can only be handed down through loved ones. That’s why Mesa the other hot little mexican rest is so good as well. You have people like that making your food and adding that special bit of love. I wish the best to the new chef and all I ask is that you stay true to your food and remember the simplest things that mom cooked where always what we wanted and craved most. Like some tacos de carnitas en tortilla de harina con agucate un toke de sal y una salsita de tomatillo! Que rico!

  • Kathryn

    Just a note…the watermelon is in the street snacks, not the street corn 🙂