Born in San Vicente (Ecuador), Álvarez is a staunch defender of its gastronomic traditions.
Valentina Álvarez started out in the kitchen alongside her grandmothers and great-grandmothers, from whom she learned the techniques and secrets of Manabí's ancestral cuisine, and the crucial role played in it by Manabí's special oven.
Álvarez is a research chef, and imparts her knowledge of ancestral gastronomy at the Iche school-restaurant, where she teaches the techniques, recipes and traditional fare of Manabí cookery, with a focus on the sustainable environmental and cultural future of the region. She also forge links with local producers and farmers' associations to promote the use of local produce.
She is also a member of the Slow Food ALMA community and owner of the hotel-restaurant Cocosolo, where she has created sea-land fare with an ancestral Manabí concept, and has also established work/inclusion spaces for women living in the rural community.