Alumni Stories

Erika Macias

Culinary Arts

Head Chef and Owner, Scratch Deli
The Art Institute of Seattle

Erika Macias

The Art Institute of Seattle taught me to be organized and to never take ‘no’ for an answer. It taught me discipline and that I am the only person in the way of my own success. Erika Macias , Head Chef and Owner, Scratch Deli Associate of Applied Arts in Culinary Arts, 2012 , The Art Institute of Seattle
As the head chef and owner at Scratch Deli, Erika Macias runs the back of house operations for her sandwich shop that focuses on organic and locally sourced ingredients. “I research and create new menu items, place inventory orders, coordinate art installations, social media, and customer relations,” she adds. 

She also works as a freelance food stylist. “I am hired by photography studios to work on styling food for packaging and advertisements for large companies.” Erika says that she earned her success by immersing herself in the field. And she works for the person who she calls “her most difficult employer”—herself.  “If I want to succeed, it is on my shoulders.”

Erika works 12 hours a day in her restaurant, where she cooks, places orders for the week, researches new products for the business, pays bills, and performs any needed upkeep.

She purchased the business from her former boss, and considers the investments one of the best decisions she’s made. “At my shop, I constantly encourage passion and creativity. I want you to feel something, and I want you to make someone else feel what you felt. We incorporate these concepts into our menu, and it shows. Our menu is constantly changing because we are constantly changing and growing.”

She enjoys a challenge and asserts that when she stops feeling challenged, she’ll know it’s time for a new career. “I will always keep looking to be inspired in the kitchen by pushing new techniques and ingredients, by keeping my employees inspired and interested, by keeping close to my community, and by always looking for the next big opportunity.”

Erika, who in 2012 earned an Associate of Applied Arts in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of Seattle, says that her education taught her to be organized and confident. “It taught me discipline and that I am the only person in the way of my own success.” She recommends that current students stay strong and focused on their end goals. “Everyone is going to tell you that you can’t, but you can.”

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