‘Always laughing, always smiling and singing’: Family, colleagues remember Triny Carranza
Courtesy Stephanie Carranza
María Trinidad “Triny” Carranza, cook III at the Cohen House, passed away May 7 at the age of 50. Carranza’s daughter said Triny’s cause of death was complications from blood clots.
Hailing from the city of Chihuahua, Mexico, Triny visited Houston in her early twenties and chose to stay after meeting her future husband, Salvador Carranza, in the same apartment complex. Once settled, she began working in the cooking industry that, according to her husband, she was in love with.
“She always liked cooking,” Salvador Carranza said. “Cooking was who she was.”
After years of cooking for different restaurants and clubs, her longtime friend and former coworker, Susana Cabrera, the Cohen House’s senior executive chef and club operations manager, convinced Triny to join her team.
“We brought her in as a cook II and shortly after promoted her to a cook III,” Cabrera said. “She quickly became my right hand in the kitchen. Always so eager to learn, to take on responsibility, to challenge herself and grow. I trusted her to be at the helm of my operation wholeheartedly.”
According to Triny’s daughter, Stephanie Carranza, Triny was ecstatic about the chance to work at Rice.
“I remember she was so excited because it was going to be a different adventure for her,” Stephanie Carranza said. “She made a very big impression on everybody there and all of the chefs, I remember she told me, they were kind of fighting over her because they wanted her to go to one kitchen but then somebody else wanted her to go to another kitchen. She's always been very dedicated and loyal to all of the jobs she worked, and I know she always put in 120 percent.”
In addition to her talent as a cook, which Cabrera described as both “experimental and nostalgic at the same time,” Triny was known for the energy and kindness that she brought to lunch service at the Cohen House. According to Susana Rodriguez, sales and events manager at the Cohen House, Triny always enjoyed greeting members and providing the best experience for them.
“She also loved giving our Cohen House members the best experience possible when coming in through our lunch express line,” Rodriguez said. “She would always welcome our members with a smile and will do her absolute best to accommodate members’ requests.”
In the kitchen, she was also known for her leadership and ability to bring joy to everyone on staff, which included playing her favorite banda songs for them while working. Her passing, Cabrera described, was felt by everyone at the Cohen House.
“There is no other person like her,” Cabrera said. “No one that can make you laugh and cry, that can frustrate you and make you proud, that can push you and help you take care of yourself. She was a friend to many, a mentor, a mother and a damn good chef.”
Looking back at the type of person that she was, Triny’s husband did not need many words to encapsulate the love and care that she had for others.
“She was always very happy, helpful to others, caring to everyone [and] she had so many friends,” Salvador Carranza said.
Stephanie Carranza said she admired many things about her mother, especially her selflessness.
“You could do her wrong and she would forgive you, she never held anything against anybody, it didn't matter how tired she was,” Stephanie Carranza said. “She always cared about me and my dad. She always cared about others more than herself. She was never selfish, she always cared about everybody else she made sure everybody was okay before her.
“That's something I admire about my mom. And she was always laughing, always smiling and singing.”
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