What business skills did you acquire during this journey?
I learned to stay on top of finances. I learned patience. I learned to talk slow and think fast. I learned to never stop grinding.
How did you initially fund your businesses as a startup? Did you secure business financing to grow?
I did not secure business financing, I used credit cards to purchase equipment and supplies. I was working at 3 different restaurants and teaching people to cook on my days off.
Please share with our readers your work, life balance.
What are some of the biggest struggles or hurdles you face in managing your life, family, friends and business?
I am a single parent and balancing my family life, my career, and my social life can be mission impossible.
I basically don’t have a social life or time to develop a romantic relationship. I understand these are the sacrifices I have to make in order to set my son and I up for success.
Are you actively involved in supporting the Latino community?
I teach predominantly Latino children through cooking programs like Common Threads and CCAP. It is very important to me to give back to my community and to show these kids it doesn’t matter where you start you can do anything you set your mind to.
Food insights and style
How have your recipes evolved or changed through the years? How does your approach to food compare today vs. those early on?
My food used to be very traditional Puerto Rican food.
I was chasing a taste of home. I have married those traditional flavors with California technique, lightening them up and bringing more greenery and fresh locally sourced products to the plate.
Where do you see the food entertainment going over the next two to five years?
The food entertainment industry is blowing up.
The rising cost of labor, food, and real estate is forcing chefs to pare down their menus and to create more accessible food. Fine dining in casual atmospheres, grab and go are huge now and will only get bigger.
Final Thoughts. What advice would you have for other Latinos who are interested in making the food industry a full-time career? Or in general running business?
Never stop honing your skills.
It’s not enough to know how to cook well. You have to know how to market yourself, how to write, how to become an integral part of your community. Most importantly you have to believe in what you bring to the table. Leap and the net will appear.
In hindsight is there anything you would have done differently in your businesses or career?
I would have worked even harder.
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