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. For several years, Gastón hand made their dulce de leche just as Grandma Dorita did: in small batches using farm-fresh milk that they sold in local markets through out the East Coast up until the onset of Covid, when the Oría’s retired their artisanal dulce de leche product line.
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. Since opening its doors in 2013, La Dorita Cooks helped more than 200 new business owners access the resources and assistance they need to grow successful food companies, either with consulting services, kitchen share services or both. In February 2024, Josephine and Gastón passed the torch to Frontier Kitchen Pittsburgh, who now runs the culinary incubator in Sharpsburg, PA.
Today, the Orías, along with their five children, Lucas, Mateo, Nico, Nacho and Poupée, golden retriever, Andino, and beagle, Avi (short for Avocado)—are currently livin’ la vida low-country in Charleston, SC. In addition to working in luxury real estate in the Charleston area with St. Germain Properties, Josephine is currently writing Pheenie Fries, a food-fiction-fusion, middle-grade novel that features food-centric adventures loosely based on her abuela Dorita—an eccentric, loving, generosity-in-spirit, funny grandma figure who for the most part is made of sugar and spice, but that doesn’t mean she’s always nice. Pheenie Fries is the first of The Dear Bela Series, which will follow the main character, Delphine, as she navigates 5th grade and beyond. The series will have a bicultural feel and be interspersed with Spanish words and smidgeons of magical realism as it tackles both fun and sensitive topics all kids come across a la Judy Blume…friendships, bullying, lunch table and recess anxiety, shyness, body acceptance, first crushes, unexpected losses, etc. The series will also include child-friendly recipes that will inspire the children to get in the kitchen with their grandparents, parents, older siblings, or caretakers.
In addition, Josephine is the author of, culinary memoir, Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Courses (Scribe Publishing) that 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. Josephine’s first cookbook, “Dulce de Leche: Recipes, Stories and Sweet Traditions,” is a cookbook-as-food memoir about her family’s devotion to the craft of preserving milk, with more than 80 sweet and savory recipes.