Marcela Valladolid, a successful chef, author, television host, and busy mom, is always on the go. Juggling an on screen cooking career and carving out quality family time means Valladolid is more than a frequent flyer. Still, she's always ready for another adventure. Valladolid slowed down just enough to share her favorite travel spots, where she goes to indulge her taste buds, and how she gains inspiration for her next venture.
A San Diego native, Valladolid’s passion for a career in the culinary world began in Tijuana, Mexico at her aunt’s cooking school. Believe it or not, she returns at least once a week. She caught the travel bug at a young age. As a teenager in high school, she traveled to China with her high school friends, and considers the trip an eye opening experience. Since then her education and her work have taken her all over the world, including a dream trip to Copenhagen for Noma chef René Redzepi’s MAD food conference, surrounded by the very best chefs in the world.
“I love to travel,” Valladolid said. “Whether it was sledding in the outskirts of Quebec with my mom [before she passed away], or attending my brother’s wedding, in Holbox [a small, pristine and almost-virgin island of the Cancun coast], each experience really is unforgettable.”
And all travel informs her cooking.
“It makes you want to up your game. It makes you want to really search deep inside to find your passion and make sure you stay on that track,” she said.
Speaking of chefs, Valladolid’s new show, The Kitchen, has her co-hosting with some of her Food Network pals: Sunny Anderson, Jeff Mauro, Katie Lee, and Geoffrey Zakarian.
“I’ve been working in TV for about 10 years and this is the most fun I’ve ever had because I get to relax and be me with some very talented and funny people,” she said of the show, where Valladolid and her fellow chefs talk about food, cooking, trends and cocktails. And since the show is taped in Manhattan, Valladolid has been criscrossing the states to be in front of the camera and watch over her food line with Safeway Supermarket, which is based in Oakland. But Valladolid doesn’t mind the endless travel.
And because of her busy schedule, when Valladolid does take some time to travel for pleasure, she opts for a vacation where very little planning is necessary.
“I focus more on the location,” she said of booking a getaway. “I would rather spend my time in a beautiful house on the beach or in a prime location in the city, but without guides. I also like to rent apartments because Fau is always with me and I like the option of being able to cook for him."
Next, where Valladolid eats on the road...