Meet Josephine & Gaston
La Dorita Cooks’ founders, Gastón and Josephine Oría, both have a passion for all things food, above all those that are representative of their Argentine heritage and inspired by the recipes Josephine’s abuela Dorita passed down to her as a child. Today, they’re mindful to pass on these, among new traditions, to their five children—the age-old, post-meal practice of sobremesa a top priority among them.
Josephine was born Josefina Ursula Caminos in La Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her mom renamed her Josephine shortly after her family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the early 70s. Josephine was just a child when she began cooking alongside her grandma Dorita, who instilled a love of all things Argentine, especially dulce de leche. The husband and wife team began La Dorita in 2009, after years of urging by friends and family who enjoyed Josephine’s homemade cakes generously layered with her grandmother’s dulce de leche. Today, Gastón hand makes their dulce de leche just as Grandma Dorita did: in small batches using farm-fresh milk. He stirs each batch by hand in copper kettles. From stirring, to jarring, to sealing, Gastón and Josephine do it all. The result is an artisanal dulce de leche milk jam that is meant to be enjoyed unadulterated—straight from the jar. Gastón and Josephine have four boys and a daughter. Each is a dulce de leche expert and the five together, along with their Argentine father, are the official taste testers for quality control of the product.
In early 2013, Josephine and Gastón decided to share their own food start-up experiences with like-minded entrepreneurs and opened Pittsburgh’s first commercial, shared-space kitchen to all want-to-be cooks, artisanal food makers and caterers. In addition, Josephine is the author of, “Dulce de Leche: Recipes, Stories and Sweet Traditions,” a cookbook-as-food memoir about her family’s devotion to the craft of preserving milk, with more than 80 sweet and savory recipes. The book was released February 2017 by Burgess Lea Press, an affiliate of The Quarto Group.
Josephine’s ecstatic for the release of her upcoming culinary memoir, Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Courses (Scribe Publishing). Set for release this May 2021, Josephine’s coming-of-age story serves up a must taste of Argentina sprinkled with with mystical encounters with the spirit world that led her to discover a part of herself that, like sobremesa, had been lost in translation.