The restaurant Buen Provecho has been a long time coming for chef and owner Kattia Rojas. Even from a young age, she loved food. Her mother and grandmother were both great cooks, and her grandma was always in the kitchen at the hotel in Costa Rica that her grandparents ran.

“I was a good taster,” Chef Kattia said.

Chef Kattia left Costa Rica for the United States in 2000 to learn to speak English. She had a degree in marketing, but thought learning English could help her career. She moved to New Jersey for what was only supposed to be a short time. She decided to stick around for longer because, “After a month I could say maybe 10 more words.” Eventually Chef Kattia was hired by a couple in Colorado to take care of their ranch, and one of her tasks was cooking. It was her first time cooking for larger groups, and she fell in love.

Chef and owner Kattia Rojas stirs a pot of rice at Buen Provecho restaurant

“Everything came so naturally,” Chef Kattia said. “I was never nervous or afraid to try new spices or new things.”

She knew that this could be the foundation of a business, so Chef Kattia enrolled at CNM.

“From the first day, I knew what I wanted to do and it was to open a Costa Rican restaurant.”

That’s exactly what she did in 2015 when she graduated. Buen Provecho started as a catering business, selling food at markets. But that changed when one of her customers, who was a manager at El Vado Motel, suggested she take over one of the restaurant spots in the motel’s courtyard. Soon, Buen Provecho opened its brick-and-mortar location in May 2018.

The sign at Buen Provecho restaurant

“Since day one, we've been really, really busy,” Chef Kattia said. “We’ve been so lucky that people just love our pura vida flavors.”

The menu at Buen Provecho features traditional Costa Rican dishes and flavors, along with other Caribbean ingredients. Chef Kattia’s favorite dish on the menu is the arroz con pollo, or chicken and rice.

@visitalbuquerque You’ve never tried Arroz Con Pollo like how Buen Provecho does it. Try it today! It’s delicious! #trueabq #buenprovecho #arrozconpollo ♬ The Four Seasons, Concerto No. 4 in F Minor, Op. 8, RV 297 "Winter": I. Allegro non molto - Antonio Vivaldi

“In Costa Rica, you eat arroz con pollo for every special celebration. It’s the national dish,” she said. “If you get together with families every Sunday, you have to have arroz con pollo. If you’re going to have a wedding, you have to have arroz con pollo. Any birthday, you have to have arroz con pollo…It’s very special when somebody serves you arroz con pollo. It’s our treat.”

Chef Kattia’s arroz con pollo is a special recipe from her grandmother. The dish also includes a traditional beet and potato salad, beans and plantains.

Arroz con pollo dish at Buen Provecho

One thing that Chef Kattia prioritizes is quality. She wants her dishes to transport you.

“The most important thing is everything has to be made daily and taste super fresh so it’s like you’re eating it in Costa Rica,” she said.

That dedication to quality is paying off. Chef Kattia is planning on opening a second Buen Provecho location next year, where she’ll serve up even more delicious dishes.

“Every day that I come here and I see my desserts and I see all my fresh food and I turn on the Latin music, it’s a good day.”