Olivia Velazquez | Southern Foodways Alliance arrow left envelope headphones search facebook instagram twitter flickr menu rss play circle itunes calendar

Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

< Back to Oral History project: Women at Work in San Francisco


Olivia Velazquez

Eleganza Catering

A native of Mexico City, Olivia Velazquez, wife and mother of three, had no intention of coming to the United States until her son required medical attention. She and her family set their sights on San Francisco so that Javier Delgadillio, Jr., who suffered from epilepsy, could be treated by the best neurologists they could find. Olivia and her husband Javier Sr. worked a variety of jobs to support the family.

In 2010, they found themselves spending more and more time at the hospital with their son and turned to food as a way to show their appreciation and support to the medical staff, bringing in sandwiches, soups, and other items. Olivia saw this as an unrealized opportunity and decided to try selling their food as yet anther way to supplement their income. They fulfilled catering requests. They set up a table at soccer games. And in 2012, with the help of La Cocina, they launched Eleganza Catering.

Today, Javier Jr. is well, and the entire family works in support of the business. Javier Sr. and their business partner Martin Guerrero make the food (shrimp ceviche is their signature item), their children—Javier Jr., Fernanda, and Andrea—offer behind-the-scenes support, and Olivia fuels them all with her infectious enthusiasm and dogged determination. And, since the San Francisco community has been so good to them, they’re giving back, offering 10% of their profits from each event to local scholarship funds and non-profit organizations.

Date of interview:

Amy C. Evans

Amy C. Evans

Download Transcript



The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


Alex Raij Txikito

Let’s Stay in Touch

Sign up for the SFA newsletter to have the latest content
delivered directly to your inbox.