October 17-20, 2024

arcmota luis

Luis Arce Mota

La Contenta Oeste

Chef Luis Arce Mota brings years of skill, experience and ambition to the kitchen of La Contenta Oeste, his Manhattan restaurant. At La Contenta Oeste, Chef Mota’s goal is to showcase his Mexican roots alongside his classical French culinary training, offering Mexican cuisine with French accents.

Chef Mota’s story is archetypal, that of someone starting... READ MORE

Chef Luis Arce Mota brings years of skill, experience and ambition to the kitchen of La Contenta Oeste, his Manhattan restaurant. At La Contenta Oeste, Chef Mota’s goal is to showcase his Mexican roots alongside his classical French culinary training, offering Mexican cuisine with French accents.

Chef Mota’s story is archetypal, that of someone starting at the bottom and determinedly working their way up the culinary ladder. Luis hails from Mazatlán, Mexico where his father was a fisherman, and where his love of seafood began. His earliest cooking endeavors occurred high in the mountains of the Sierra Madre during his military service in the Mexican Army. Emigrating to the United States in 1992, Luis began his culinary career as a dishwasher in Carmine’s Restaurant in Times Square. He also learned more about cooking during his three-year service in the United States Navy Reserve. Ultimately, his early exposure to and love for family cooking and traditions in Mexico primed his eagerness to learn more in New York at every opportunity.

Chef Mota’s initiative and performance were rewarded, and he gained experience in many famous Manhattan kitchens, under the tutelage of renowned chefs including David Bouley, Cesar Ramirez, Michael Lomonaco and Michael Romano. In between his stints at Bouley, Windows on the World and Union Square Café, Chef Mota received formal culinary education at the Cordon Bleu in Paris – where he staged at several Parisian restaurants – and the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

Chef Mota eventually opened Café Condesa, a very popular and well-reviewed West Village eatery. Café Condesa was a tiny space with an even tinier kitchen containing just an induction stove and convection oven; for Chef Mota these were not obstacles but creative challenges, and he succeeded brilliantly. He then moved on to open Ofrenda where New Yorkers reaped the benefit of what Chef Mota can do in a real kitchen where he offered a menu rich in tradition and heritage and at the same time fun.

La Contenta Oeste is the most recent development in Chef Mota’s career as a chef-owner. In this boisterous West Village brasserie, Chef Mota presents menus highlighting traditional Mexican ingredients while incorporating classic French technique. The goal at La Contenta Oeste is to offer excellent quality at a reasonable price point, with a particular focus on customer service. Chef Mota is especially proud of the all-Mexican wine list he has put together for La Contenta Oeste, the first of its kind in the United States.

Chef Mota is honored to have cooked for Andrés Manuel López Obrador, President of Mexico. He was also formally recognized by the Mexican Senate in 2023 for his outstanding international career and his contributions to the development and promotion of Mexican gastronomy.

In what little spare time is available to him, Chef Mota loves to travel. He has traveled around the world and has visited all seven continents, most recently Antarctica. He especially enjoys scuba diving and sampling and studying the cuisines of every destination he visits. Chef Mota has been married for over 30 years, and he and his wife have rescued many animals, including the parrot and turtle that share their home.

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