Meet Rosana Rivera of Xilo Street Mexican!

Photo by Christina Jones Photography

Photo by Christina Jones Photography

Hey boss babes! We’re back with a Feature of an amazing woman from the Tampa Bay community. Think of the nicest thing you could say about a person. Whatever it was, it most certainly would describe Chef Rosana Rivera– one half of the contagious smiles & cooking skills behind Xilo Street Mexican and Kōfe at The Hall on Franklin. Chef Rosana has built foodie empires with her partner in life & in the kitchen, Chef Ricardo Castro.

Rosana is 100% dedicated to her craft, her family, & being the best she can be. When I first started Babe Crafted, I needed flexible work so I could take last minute opportunities while still having steady income coming in, and Chef Rosana gave me that opportunity. The story of how Babe Crafted came to be will always include the smells of fresh empanadas coming from the kitchen and the image of a line out the door of hungry patrons ready for their avocado toast from when I worked at Piquant, the bakery & kitchen that Chef Rosana ran with her partner before launching one new & one revamped concept at The Hall in the summer of 2018. 

Chef Rosana has built such a strong foundation of food & business skills since starting her first catering business in 2006 and her ability to constantly add new skills to her toolkit is inspiring. You’ll love her advice, personal mantra, & a peek into the story of how she came to be where she is today. Enjoy her words & stay boss. xx -G

Take a peek into Chef Rosana’s daily life!

Tell us about yourself and what you do!

I’m a Chef, Entrepreneur, and Business Consultant Extraordinaire. I have been a business owner and Chef in Tampa Bay for over 12 years and grew up cooking in the kitchen with three generations of Puerto Rican cooks. My family’s love of food and country made an early impression on me.

What's 1 challenge you've faced and how has it effected your business? What did you do to overcome it?

One recent challenge I have faced is having to close one business and go back to the drawing board to reconfigure and recalibrate.

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

What's 1 success you've had since you’ve created your business? How do you feel when you look back on it?

So many successes, financially, personally and emotionally while growing the business. Achieving recognition and acclaim in such a competitive industry has been a great achievement.

What's the best piece of advice you could give someone looking to start a business?

Best piece of advice is to research, research, research. At the same time, try to find a mentor in the field that you can reach to for advice and guidance. Alternatively, hire a consultant that can set the path for success.

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

What's a pivot you've made in your business? 

A big pivot in the business is always innovation and relevance. Always creating a new dish or following a trend is important to provide a customer with new and varied options. Staying relevant and present for your customer base is also important to allow your business to evolve.

When are you at your happiest?

I am happiest when cooking.

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?

When things get difficult I tell myself "you can do it or push harder.” As simple as it sounds, it always works!

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

Whats one personal goal you've set for yourself this year?

One personal goal is to get healthier and find more balance physically and mentally.


What's one business goal you've set for yourself to accomplish this year?

One business goal is to expand and grow my consulting business.

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

What's the first thing you do on a Monday morning and why?

First thing I do on Monday is to look at weekly sales, labor, and inventory. It allows me to take a deep look at the scope of the week vs. daily, make adjustments as needed for the rest of the month, and spot whether we are on budget for the period.

Where can you be found + what will you typically be up to on a Friday night?

On a typical Friday night I will probably be cooking, making coffees or checking out social media channels for Xilo Street Mexican, Kōfe, and my chef IG.

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

Finish these sentences: 

My go to karaoke song is… "Don't stop believing”.

My favorite cocktail is… Gimlet.

My favorite quote is... "People who love to eat are always the best people.” –Julia Child.

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town

Photo by Sam Silver / Toast On The Town