Marcelo Munoz, owner of Mary's Empanadas.
Marcelo with some friends from VCU and his two kids, Mary and Paolo in Chile getting some empanadas in 2017.
I grew up in the most beautiful city in the world: Valparaiso, Chile. Empanadas in Chile are not just a delicious comfort food, they are a way of life. I developed a love for cooking as a young man. Before attending a culinary academy, I learned from the best: my mom. She is hands-down the best cook in Chile. She can make a feast out of a few basic ingredients. She taught me that in order for food to taste really good, you have to make it with love.
And that's what this is all about for me: love. Love for my parents, love for my family, love for my culture and background, love for my country - Chile and the U.S.-and love for sharing good food.
I started out as an immigrant in this country, barely speaking any English. I worked my way up from line cook to Restaurateur in one of the nation's leading restaurants, Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Starting my empanada business has been a dream of mine for many years and after my father passed away in 2015 in Chile, I decided not to let my life pass me by without chasing my dreams. It's a legacy all Chileans try to live up to: love what you do, do what you love, and DREAM BIG.
Here's to you, mami and papa.