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Fact: Tomate (Tomato) origins traced back to the early Aztecs, believing to be native to the Americas. Nahautl language, today Mexico and Guatemala

Established by chef and founder Tania Merlos-Ruiz, Tomate Fresh Kitchen started among Chicago’s farmer’s market selling her beloved fruit & spice infused sorbets and hand crafted empanadas! A well-kept secret among Northwestern students in Evanston, Tomate Fresh Kitchen opened her doors in 2013, transforming typical Latin street foods to a gourmet experience. Tomate Fresh Kitchen takes an innovative approach to her cuisine, using locally sourced fresh ingredients. 

Today Tomate caters everything from private events to board meetings to festivals!


Tania Merlos-Ruiz, culinary creative

Influenced by her mother and her deep Guatemalan roots, Tania is constantly evolving flavors, marrying ingredients to elevate Latin food experience. A graduate of culinary arts from Washburne Culinary School, mastering savory and baking & pastry. She also has received numerous accolades, including the Les Dames d’Escoffier and Diageo Scholarship. Refining her techniques and driven by an imaginative mind, Tania has worked the Chicago’s restaurant scene and even gaining a fan from the late Maggie Daley for her Black Bean soup! 

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