On her travel goals for 2019, the chef said, “Finding cultural, purposeful and meaningful destinations that are fun for the whole family, which is a challenge because we have a teenager and two babies. I don’t think we’ll do any travel abroad with the babies just yet so we’ll be doing some cultural travel through Mexico to connect all three kids to their roots.”
“Also, travel that gets them outside or introduces them to new activities like rappelling for Fausto, snowboarding for David, or swimming for Anna,” she said.
She continued, “Speaking of purposeful destinations and meaningful moments, I recently teamed up with my friends over at Capital One as part of the Purpose Project, an effort aimed at changing the way people view travel and encouraging others to use travel to connect with themselves and the places around them. I think travel is one of the most important goals we can set because it can teach us lessons about both where we come from and where we’re going.”
“I’m a big believer that when purposeful travel happens – when we meet, listen, learn and love people that are a little different than we are – we make the world a little better as well. Regardless of the destinations I choose this year, I think that remains my biggest travel goal,” she said.
When asked what motivates her each day as a chef, she said, “My children and how I both educate and leave a better world for them. My health, both physical and spiritual, have been heavily impacted by the foods I eat and I truly want to share the gift that that has been in my life.”
“Sustainability and cleaner food supply is a priority as well,” she said. “Sharing my Mexican roots has always been the biggest motivator, but I am much more responsible with that platform now. I want to make a positive impact and set a good example for future generations.”
She uses food as a vehicle to explore other cultures. “It’s a way to connect. Ingredients and recipe procedure tell you so much about a culture. Tortillas, for example, have been around since pre-hispanic times. How many times can you say that about the foods we eat today. You can gather so much history by just getting to know that one element in Mexican cuisine and most world cuisines carry that kind of history and background,” she said.
Her Mexican-inspired cookbook will be out next month. “I find so much happiness in having my family and friends over that I decided to write a book about it. In Mexico, so many of my gatherings revolved around food and drink and that’s what this book is; a sneak peek into my prep for entertaining.”
“The flavors of Mexico will always be present and will always inspire me but they aren’t necessarily at the forefront every time I have guests over. This book is just a collection of the recipes, both food and drink, that I serve the people I love the most,” she said.
On the impact of technology on the food service industry, she said, “I’ve recently tried to separate myself from how social media is representing food in some of the most popular platforms. There’s this desperation for clicks that sometimes makes us irresponsible in terms of choosing content.”
“At the same time, there is great information and great opposition to connect and understand other cultures and cuisines via technology that weren’t around when I was coming up. Put to good use, technology can be a great thing,” she said.
Regarding her use of technology in her daily routine as a chef, she said, “I don’t. Maybe I’ll google an ingredient or two but, mostly, I’m old school. I don’t like gadgets or fancy equipment. I like older appliances and things that are, generally, easy to use. If I can’t figure something out on my phone my son Fausto has to come rescue me.”
For aspiring chefs, she encouraged them to be themselves. “The simplest but hardest thing to achieve. There’s so much temptation in trying to copy someone else’s formula for success and that’s just not how the universe works. Be still and just work hard. It’ll come if you are authentic and you truly want it. Visualization is key,” she said.
She concluded about her new cookbook, “I am so proud of it. It’s my personal photographer Isabella’s first book. It was all shot in my home with natural light. We produced the whole thing here and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. It truly is a reflection of the things I do for the people I love when they are coming over for a meal. From the bottom of my heart, I hope you love it.”
To learn more about Chef Marcela Valladolid, follow her on Instagram.