Irma spent her childhood in Lubbock, TX watching her grandmother, mother, and aunts lovingly prepare food for family events. At 14, Irma and her family moved to Fort Worth. At 16, she eagerly accepted a job under the chef of The Balcony Restaurant on Camp Bowie Boulevard. Not only did she learn valuable cooking skills, the experience sparked a passion for food that would lead to a lifelong love affair with cooking!
As it turns out, the desire to bless others would be the driving force behind Irma’s recipe creation. She developed her famous hot sauce to spice up church events. She pieced together family recipes to create her now famous tamales which she sold, along with jars of hot sauce, to raise funds for mission work in Mexico as well as several other fundraising events.
Irma never dreamed of cooking professionally but in 1990, pediatric dentist Dr. J. Michael Lloyd of Arlington, TX encouraged Irma to do just that and became Irma's first catering client. Thanks to him believing in her, Irma 's Catering was born. Along the way Irma's brother Ramiro (RB) Garza has consistently encouraged & supported her by telling her "Never give up on your dream!". She hasn't.
In 2008 Irma partnered with her eldest daughter Crystal Padilla and the two have become quite a dynamic duo as Irma handles the cooking while Crystal tackles the business administration. Irma’s Catering has grown by leaps and bounds since their partnership.
In 2009 Irma received her culinary certificate through the Fort Worth Culinary School making her a Certified Chef. Over the past 5 years, Irma’s Catering has taken on a variety of corporate and private clientele.
The food has become so popular that Crystal and Irma have decided to take the next step and open up their first storefront. Irma's Catering is growing their vision and Mariposa 's Latin Kitchen will open September 2012.
Mariposa’s Latin Kitchen will employ a quick-serve restaurant concept and will offer a limited variety of items from the catering menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Catering will, of course, still be available. Irma and Crystal hope that the success of their first storefront will allow them to open additional locations around the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex as well as mass market their brand of hot sauce and tamales.
The name mariposa is the spanish word for butterfly. In April of 2010, while on a trip to Hawaii, Irma took the time to pray and seek God’s direction for the next steps with Irma’s Catering. As she prayed and reflected she was inspired by the steps necessary for a butterfly to become as it is. The process outlined the fulfillment of the vision for her life. A big part of her vision is to leave a legacy for her children. This desire is her biggest motivation for taking the next step.
One of the greatest accomplishments for Irma was accepting the struggles and growing pains necessary to have her dream come to life. Like a butterfly that struggles from it’s cocoon and afterwards is free to fly, Irma is free to spread her wings and share her dream with others. Her goal is to help other would be butterflies to never give up on their dream. The struggle is worth the victory.
Irma lives by this thought…..Don’t die with a song in your heart!