“I keep the history of Panama alive through its food.”

—Chef Yadira

Hey there, I’m Chef Yadira Stamp!

I am an Afro-Latina chef, speaker, consultant, and restaurateur specializing in authentic Panamanian cooking.

Born and raised in Panama City, I discovered my passion for the culinary arts at an early age while helping with my mother’s catering business, where I learned the traditional cooking techniques I still use today.

While earning my Culinary Degree at the Art Institute of Washington, I opted to return to Panama for my externship rather than France, where I spent three months studying under culinary matriarchs in the countryside who taught me about the wonderful world of native Panamanian gastronomy.

In 2012, I founded Esencias Panameñas in Washington, DC—one of only a handful of Panamanian food businesses in the United States. Voted Best of D.C. three years in a row, Esencias Panameñas serves authentic Panamanian cuisine and is the only Panamanian catering company in the U.S. to offer its food nationwide.

I believe in giving back. I have performed cooking demonstrations at the Farm-to-Street Party as part of the Eat Local First Week, as well as during Growing Healthy Schools Month, which celebrates the D.C. Healthy Schools Act. I also volunteer at N Street Village, cooking and serving meals for women. Most recently, I traveled to Ukraine with World Central Kitchen to prepare and provide meals to families remaining in the country.

Order Your Copy Now

My inaugural cookbook, Panama On A Plate, offers a genuine taste of Panamanian cuisine with Latin American and Caribbean cuisine fusion that will keep you coming back for more.


Speaking Engagements

From current and aspiring chefs and restauranteurs to the general public, there’s no audience I can’t entertain. Popular topics for my speaking engagements include celebrating diversity through food, Panamanian culture and history, Panamanian gastronomy, Blacks in Panama (the migration of Afro Colonials and Afro Antilleans to Panama and the staple foods they brought), and starting and managing a catering company or restaurant.

Restaurant & Catering Consulting

I love to help aspiring restauranteurs and caterers reach their dreams. I am available to offer plans, advice, training, and support for:

  • Starting and managing a catering business
  • ​Opening and managing a restaurant
  • Calculating food costs and plate costing
  • …and more!


I am an experienced guest lecturer and workshop instructor, able to help teach on topics such as starting and managing a catering business, opening and managing a restaurant, and plate costing.


Live interview on DC News Now

Washington Post newspaper – Magazine – Hibiscus Flower Drink

Washington Post newspaper – Food Section – Panamanian Christmas Fruit Cake

Live interview from the restaurant on Univision TV – Washington, DC

Chef Yadira provides a demonstration of authentic Panamanian dishes during Hispanic Heritage Month.

What My Clients Say

Your program was fantastic!

"Your program was fantastic! I have had so many comments from those who attended about how wonderful your presentation was, and how talented and intelligent you are. Thank you for making our Wilton Reads program a wonderful success! You are welcome to visit us any time you are in Connecticut, and we'll take you on the grand tour." -- Caryn, Wilton Library Association, Wilton, CT

It was a joy and inspiration working with you!

On behalf of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Caribbean Intellectual Property Association, I want to thank you for helping us deliver a networking program between our groups. It was a joy and inspiration working with you! You made a very informative presentation that enhances our organization’s efforts to celebrate and promote the rich heritage of Hispanic and Caribbean people and our impact on the global community. - Arlene Jones, SHPE/CIPA, USPTO, Alexandria, VA


For bookings, questions, or other inquiries, please use the form below.

Chef Yadira