Every year, the Nevada Women's Fund inducts a special Northern Nevada woman into its hall of fame. And this year, the decision was easy. The woman being honored is known for her world-class recipes, but not just in the kitchen.

As festive as it is flavorful, one downtown Reno restaurant is a longtime favorite to those who crave authentic Mexican cuisine. Bertha Miranda's opened on Mill Street in 1991. And all these years later you'll still find the heart and soul of this place - in the kitchen. Bertha, herself. "If I don't come to the kitchen or cook in my house, my day is not complete."

At 72, Bertha comes to work every day with a smile on her face, appreciation in her heart and with passion for cooking. It's something she was predestined to do. After all, she was literally born in a restaurant in Mexico. "My mother kept me in the kitchen...Every time they wanted to move me, I cried and cried and cried until they brought me back to the kitchen."

Bertha grew up around this business, selling freshly-made tortillas with her grandmother every day. And even after she married and moved to Lovelock, Nevada in '78 - for her husband's mining job - she continued cooking for special events.

A few years later, the family moved west - and Bertha opened her first, very small restaurant - a one-woman operation. "One time I was the line cook, the cook, the cleaner, everything and I waited for my kids to come and do the waiting."

Little by little, after many long days, Bertha Miranda's grew and eventually expanded to Reno. But she hasn't forgotten the struggles getting her.

She saved sales receipts to remind her how far she's come. "Look at... $33. Oh that's in 1984. '84."

And now she's giving back.

Bertha's family started an endowment to send underprivileged kids to college - more than 50 students so far. "Because I want to do for others what I couldn't do for me."

She even encourages her employees to learn from her and open their own businesses. Many successful restaurants are thriving as a result of her mentorship. Thanks to her recipe for success, lives are forever changed. All because Bertha Miranda took a chance - and Northern Nevada loves her for it. "I love it and I appreciate them. I'm never going to finish saying thank you to my wonderful community."

Bertha will be honored at the Nevada Women's Fund "Women of Achievement Luncheon" next Thursday. And you can see all the women being honored in this Sunday's edition of the Reno Gazette-Journal. Our congratulations to you all!

Written by Kristen Remington