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Did you have any mentors?
I have had many mentors in my life. There are countless comedians who helped me sharpen my stage skills.
Radio consultants and program directors that helped me understand the importance of connecting with an audience. In the food world, my biggest influence was Roy Choi who I had an opportunity to work with at his restaurant Commissary. It was there I learned how to fuse cuisines with integrity and intelligence.
He showed me the power of knowing who you are and embracing where you come from.
What are your future plans for career and business?
Right now, I am focused on launching EverythingFood.com, an app that will score how natural food is on a scale of 1 to 100.
People will be able to do a deep dive on everything about a food product, how it was grown, produced, if it ever came into contact with GMO’s or pesticides and make the smartest choices for them and their families. I wrote, produced, and hosted a new short form digital series called “Smart Eats” to show people how they are being catfished by their food and how to make higher quality choices through the Everything Food platform.
What were the best rewards and outcomes from your culinary, speaking and media entertainment businesses?
I got to share a stage with Rita Moreno at the Animus Summit in 2018, and that was a life changing moment for me.
Even more powerful than meeting one of my heroes was the opportunity to inspire almost a thousand women from my island of Puerto Rico with my story. These women are entrepreneurs struggling to keep their businesses afloat after the devastation of Maria and it was an honor to spend time with them.
Any insights to share on your 18-year trajectory in business? Would you have imagined this longevity?
In the decade it took to build my radio career from sidekick to Morning Show host of a #1 show in a major market, I crossed state lines 5 times, fell in love, got married, and had a baby. In 2010 it all fell apart.
I lost everything I had worked for, I was divorced, and my young son and I were facing homelessness when I walked into the MasterChef kitchen. I could not imagine where that leap of faith would take me.
It’s common for businesses to encounter challenges. What challenges did you encounter starting and growing your businesses…how did you address or solve them?
It was difficult to start my recipe development business from scratch.
I did not have any contacts in the food world, though I had developed a fan base from my appearance on MasterChef. I hustled, like we all do, to get work. I catered, taught classes, developed recipes, blogged, and at one point worked at 3 different restaurants to make ends meet.
I bought catering equipment little by little.
It took a few years to home in on what it was that I wanted to say in the food space. I thought when I hosted my first show for FYI that I had made it. I did not realize then how much work there was still to be done.
It is a constant grind, there is always a new challenge, but the beauty is in the work. I love what I do.