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  • Writer's pictureTyzza Macias

Food styling and fashion with a complete taste of Colombian sazon

Mariana Velasquez, Casa Velasquez

Latinas and Hispanic workers shaped the food industry, and representation is crucial to support Latinas in culinary arts.

An inspiring Latina like Mariana Velásquez is making her dreams come true, and no barriers are too great to make this Latina stop anytime soon.

The culinary industry can be a challenging field. But Mariana Velásquez is applying her decades of experience and culinary expertise in her entrepreneurship journey, proving her dedication, talent, and determination in an overwhelming and overseen industry for Latinas and Hispanics in general.

“Collaborated on twenty cookbooks and more, Including Michelle Obama's American Grown.”

With decades of experience in the realm of food styling, Mariana Velásquez brings her culinary expertise, Colombian influence, and love of art and fashion into everything she does.

To Mariana, tasting, viewing, and cooking food should be an ultra-sensual and pleasurable experience.

After experience working in professional kitchens, she is now a sought-after food stylist, experience designer, cookbook author, and entrepreneur. In 2021, Mariana published COLOMBIANA— published by Harper Wave and photographed by Gentl & Hyers—dedicated to the cuisine and culture of her homeland, Colombia.

Her newest brand, Casa Velasquez, introduces an-unexplored category in Kitchen houseware and Hostingware. She created her first luminarium apron to wear on set, merging beauty with utility. The concept of hosting combines table textiles and stationary with ready-to-wear hosting garments. Each item is high quality and crafted in Colombia to enlarge individuals' sense of home and entertainment.

Marianas' styling work has been published in four iconic recipe books. And has styled, art directed, developed recipes, and collaborated on twenty cookbooks and more, Including Michelle Obama's American Grown. Mariana's notable food styling clients include Haagen Dazs, William Sonoma, and Bon Appétit, Among others.

Mariana's guilty pleasure is Hawaiian pizza and spending quality time with her family. She currently lives with her husband Diego at their Brooklyn Home.

In the middle of this Summer 2022, I had the pleasure to Interview Mariana Velásquez regarding her career, accomplishments, and what advice she would give to today's Latina and the future Latina.

OLM: How did you become interested in your field?

Mariana: Food and the ritual of the table have always been part of my life. The axel of my family growing up and, still is, cooking and meals together. In my teens, I decided I wanted to have a career in food and went for it!

OLM: How did you begin your career?

Mariana: I left Bogota for NYC at 17. Right after high school. The plan was to study English for 6 months and return to college. Instead, I stayed in NY, worked as an apprentice in restaurants, and ended up in Big Sur California where I staged at the Post Ranch Inn and where I learned the magic of seasonal ingredients and the importance of the connection to its source. Later in life, I became a food stylist where I combine all my passions: food, art, photography, and culture.

OLM: What do you like most about your work?

Mariana: Working with different creatives every day learning about food and cultures constantly and pushing the limits with color and textures around and in food.

OLM: What kinds of accomplishments tend to be valued and rewarded in your field?

Mariana: Writing a book, winning awards, being published in magazines and newspapers

OLM: How does your position fit within the organization/career field/industry?

Mariana: I'm not sure what you mean here. I have my own company which ranges from food styling, creative direction, and narrative services to my Hostingware line where I design products, and commercialize textiles for all things home! The brand is called Casa Velasquez.

OLM: Why do you feel you are the most suited for this role?

Mariana: I love what I do and I have honed my skills by practice and by connecting to my roots- which make my work authentic.

OLM: What kind of mindset is required for your duties and responsibilities?

Mariana: An open mind, resourcefulness, being creative, and a love of food

OLM: What are the areas of opportunity that you foresee in your role?

Mariana: I see how Casa Velasquez can grow as a brand in the US and Europe. I also see the possibility of writing another book and having a show about hosting and entertaining

OLM: How do you stay inspired and motivated in your role?

Mariana: I see a lot of art and movies. In them I find inspiration and motivation to create my projects.

OLM: What advice would you give to today's Latina and the future Latina?

Mariana: Stay true to who you are, work hard and be persistent.


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