Today we’d like to introduce you to Luana Budani.
Luana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Because of the socio-economic situation happening in Argentina back in 2000, my family and I immigrated to Los Angeles. I was a teenager and absolutely HATED the idea of moving here, not knowing a word of English, not having been anywhere else in the world but my country, the idea of leaving my friends, my school, etc. was unbearable. I was 15 years old when we moved, and the adaptation was very very hard.
Since very young, I always loved to cook. I would cook with my grandma and watching all of the cooking shows that were on tv. It was a little weird for a little girl to watch those shows, but I LOVED them. My grandma still has some recipes I hand-wrote with her from some of these shows. I started to attend a culinary school in Hollywood, but I just did not find myself there, so I left. I love making bread, pastries and baked goods, I think this is probably why the culinary school wasn’t a good fit for me.
SO, I attended Santa Monica College and followed another passion of mine (dance and theater arts). I danced with SMC’s Dance company Synapse and graduated with an AA degree from there. After graduating, I taught creative movement and ballet to kids for a while. However, I wasn’t very fulfilled, I did not have any money so I started looking for office jobs. Through that journey, I started working for a company that, as a start-up needed me to help with a lot of different tasks; especially focusing on Human Resources. So I went to LMU to get an HR certificate and pursue HR further. I really started to enjoy this path and went back to get my bachelor’s in Human Development… and when I got into the rhythm of studying interesting things I wanted to keep going. I got promoted to Director of HR and decided to go for my Master’s in Organizational leadership. I graduated with my MA in 2018 with a baby on the way!
My path seemed to be expected and with no surprises…but my story really began after I had my baby (my first and only so far). I left on maternity leave and when I met with my boss to come back to work, he told me that the company had sold and that they were outsourcing HR; thus, my director of HR position was terminated. Shocked and very disappointed in this turn of events with a new baby, I decided to start a YouTube channel and an Instagram page sharing recipes I adore, recipes that have been in my kitchen repertoire forever, and never fail me. I NEVER stopped cooking, never stopped improvising and creating in the kitchen.. so I thought that while looking for a job, I could focus on sharing what I knew. My ideal audience was those Argentineans living all over the world. I wanted to bring our recipes to them. Those beloved food items that are impossible to find unless you are in Argentina. A year has gone since I started my YouTube and Instagram, I share a lot of delicious recipes that are easy and I try to motivate people to create in the kitchen along with me. I absolutely love sharing what I know and the positive feedback I get when someone tells me how much my recipes helped them.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Definitely not a smooth ride as I am still navigating my career and next path on the internet.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I bake and share my baking with the internet via Instagram and YouTube!
I love to make baked goods and bread, those two things are my passion! They are delicious and every time I make them and someone tries them and tells me how amazing they are, I feel complete! (HAHA!)
What is most important to me is to make things accessible and “easy” for the person watching me. I realize that on the other side of the screen, there is a busy mom, a busy professional, someone with no time … but someone who enjoys cooking. So I make it simple and I am creative. I am not your typical chef and I do not pretend to be, I show how things turn out for me and I encourage my audience to try alongside me in their kitchen the recipes I show. I make myself available to them to answer any questions and I love learning alongside them.
Creativity, imagination, re-inventing, those are the key components of what I do in the kitchen.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
One of my videos has over 8 thousand views, this is AMAZING to me… You always aim for that, but it is hard to have your video watched by so many people. I have over 2 thousand subscribers on YouTube and over 9 thousand followers on Instagram. It is not the number of people that make me proud, but the fact that someone wants to follow me and finds my content interesting enough to “subscribe” to it. I just feel so proud of that.