Today we’d like to introduce you to Beatriz Tasha Magana.
Beatriz Tasha, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Last year in November, I was facing a crossroads. I was questioning if I wanted to continue to pursue a dream in performing and singing or unlock this hidden passion in Culinary Arts. I found myself desiring something deeper, something that was bigger than I could imagine, something that humbled me and made me a better person. I started to reminisce to the child in me wanting to create a world where all arts could collaborate and food would be the star of the show. I turned vegetarian when I was 16. My parents got divorced and it crushed me. I needed something to keep me occupied and I discovered vegetarianism. I started to uncover the dark world of capitalism within livestock and farmers, health poverty, and corrupt food production to animals then supplied to us to eat. This specifically is target to low income folk or marginalized communities. Food has always played a role in my life at times not supplying myself with adequate nutrition to then the wanting to provide myself with healthy alternatives. I began to play around with creating food based on colors.
For the most part, I didn’t know what I was doing. I just gave myself permission to express with food. I would use some of the themes from my mom, grandma, and my dad’s huge breakfasts he would make us back in the day to inspire me. Though I didn’t have anyone in PARTICULAR who inspired me, I just knew I needed to eat and no one else was vegetarian. Living on my own was an entire food adventure. Bumping music, singing, dancing, while I would create like a mad scientist in the kitchen. Vivid Colors and smells is what I based everything on. Sometimes I would create magic other times a bitter mess. Oh, I loved it so much either way. It was the process that brought me happiness. Though I never saw it as a career or something I would seek out in my future, I just knew it made me happy to cook for myself. As I was sitting on my bed that last November 2019, I began to weep not knowing what to do with my life. I wasn’t being fulfilled and I kept on thinking about this vision I had when I was 14. I had a vision book where I wrote a specific dream in. I believed in creating a space that awakened the five human senses; touch, smell, sound, sight, and taste. That all arts would collaborate and food would bring this utopia to life. It wouldn’t be a restaurant but a Venue. This vision always visits me and once again, it hit me hard on my heart. I prayed asking for guidance. Next thing you know, I was looking up cooking this, gardens this, cooking that until I stumbled upon culinary arts. I was stunned. I never imagined there was a world for Culinary.
All of a sudden everything clicked. The venue, the cooking, the performing, the magic in creating, and healing from plant-based foods. I found myself taking Culinary arts sanitation and management classes at Los Angeles Trade Tech. Then I took my first cooking class. I was mystified with my first encounter with Chef Spence. Her outlook on cooking and her journey that she had with her mom was exciting. I felt a rush to jump in. I loved the classes. Learning the five mother sauces, learning how to make a roux, learning to bake, basics in cooking, and speaking the language in the kitchen. I felt like I found my place. I was humbled. It wasn’t about me but about the gorgeous creations I put my heart in for others to eat and enjoy. In class, I would always be spinning with ideas on how to transform the recipes to make them plant-based. I knew I was committed to finding my place in the kitchen. Next thing you know it’s March 2020 and Los Angeles is on lockdown. I no longer could be in cooking class. I was devastated. Living on my own, I was bummed. I lost both my jobs, no class, and no one to cook for. I began to share my desires to a dear friend I admire and respect. I sat down with Erik telling him I want to share my plant-based creations to people and start a small business.
I remember telling him I want to make plant-based food for the neighborhoods I’m from; East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, DTLA. We need delivery services for vegan foods. He totally believed in me and pushed me. He had complete faith in me when I was doubtful even in my desire to start this hustle. I then made my cooking Instagram, started to showcase my food and begin to sell Pot pies. I would get friends, my bro, and lovely people from Instagram purchasing my pies. I was so caught up in the cooking and delivering I didn’t realize I was doing what I love. Next thing you know I’m running a grassroots business. I was shocked that I was purchasing ingredients, cooking in my tiny kitchenette, packing, then delivering the food all on my own. I was so happy to just make food for people to eat that I didn’t know I was running a small business. Next thing you know, I converted my small studio into a giant kitchen. I was fully committed. I’m only six months deep and know that I’m focused on Cutie’s Kitchen. I hope to work hard enough to expand in having a kitchen storefront and eventually my Plant-Based Venue.
Has it been a smooth road?
I never would’ve thought I could push my mind, spirit, and body to this hard labor of love. When I first began, I only thought I was going to cook and bake to stay connected and earn some financial support. I soon fell in a relationship with my recipes and creating in the kitchen. As time went by, the more demanding it became, I felt overwhelmed. The truth is, I didn’t have an oven, a fridge, or knives. I got blessed with an average size toaster Convection oven that I used to bake. I’ve been hustling Pot Pies on this mini oven. At times I felt I was going crazy. I remember my first orders being 2-3 pies to 12-20 pies. The truth is, I loved the hustle. I didn’t give myself room to feel pity I just knew I had to work.
I only had a mini-fridge when I moved into this small studio. I would buy dry ice and regular and put it in my small styrofoam ice chest in order to keep my ingredients fresh! I would wake up super early and run to get the best produce to make a weekly menu. It was definitely challenging but I only saw it as part of my story. I then converted my entire studio into a kitchen. Then I got blessed from my dad with a fridge and sweet friends gifted me with different cooking appliances. The money I saved up went straight to Cutie’s Kitchens startup. It’s been one of the most exhausting yet rewarding experiences this far. I’ve never surrendered so effortlessly to a dream. That’s how I knew I was truly and fiercely committed no matter what.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
My business is based on gourmet plant-based Creations. That all people from whatever neighborhoods can access my healthy delicious foods. I vowed to provide a service of quality and quantity. I want Cutie’s Kitchen customers to get there money’s worth. I find some vegan food services provide fast food junk food and just label it as vegan. To me, the whole point of being vegan or plant-based is to bring solidarity to food, alliance with animals, and health consciousness to oneself. Cutie’s Kitchen is a place of love, fun, and connection through food. I definitely have to give it up to my “Cutie Pot pies!!!”!My savory cutie pies are what started it all. Rich gravy, crispy seasoned potatoes, seasoned veggie medley, with a golden crispy crust. Simply magic. Everything I make is entirely from scratch. I believe in creating from the ground up. Challenging my palate and skills to think outside the box. I imagine it and make it. I’ve learned to go off my instincts. One of the dishes I loved making are my plant-based nachos. That’s definitely a signature plate. Creamy Chipotle Queso, radish Pico de gallo, citrus marinated shiitake mushrooms, and my Caribbean beans. I absolutely love this dish.
I do my best to stay away from using soy products or imitation meat. I believe in using veggies or fruits as my ingredients. They must be the star. I’m so happy to just see all the support I developed in these six months from all the Cutie Pies on Instagram. It truly is amazing. All the support kept me going. I didn’t have much to begin with so the support pushed me to invest in Cutie’s Kitchen. As of now, I operate on my own. I’m the Executive Chef, owner, delivery driver, and much more. Thankfully I recently acquired a helper, the lovely MaryGold. When I need some backup, she puts in that work. I’m thankful for another friend, Minda that helped too. I definitely will continue to provide gourmet plant-based food for all. I enjoy being a delivery service too. I have the opportunity to vibe with the customer and let them know they are special.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I absolutely love my city. I represent East Los Angeles and Boyle heights all the way. As of now, I’m in DTLA and started here. I had so much love and support from the community on Instagram and locally… Yes, I was challenged by some folks that don’t like anything that has to do with vegan. I remember selling my food on the streets and people looked at me like I was selling green beans and mush. It made me sad to know the lack of plant-based food education is lacking in my hoods. However, I see the beautiful people that weren’t vegan and were willing to try my food and support. I do want to go back to Boyle Heights though and want to open a storefront there. I want to show our communities we deserve healthy delicious, affordable food.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @cuties_kitchen_
Beatriz Tasha Magaña