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Meet Patty Morrell-Ruiz of The Mad Table

Today we’d like to introduce you to Patty Morrell-Ruiz.

Hi Patty, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
My love for food started as a little girl, watching my dad bring the family together while he was in the kitchen, apron on, holding an oversized carving fork in one hand and a scotch on the rocks in the other. These priceless moments made me fall in love with food, entertaining, and the idea of becoming a Cuban Martha Stewart!!!

Other than hanging out in the kitchen with my dad, I spent most of my childhood playing house with my dolls, nurturing them and dreaming of my wedding and of the 12 kids that I was going to have! I always knew that I wanted a large family. When I met my husband, I had two girls, he had one son and before I even knew it, we were off to Ukraine adopting two boys! And there’s my large family, not exactly 12 kids- but large enough!

After 25 years or so of embracing crazy parenting life, and life in general, I realized that maybe, just maybe, I could still dive into my love of food and entertaining! I wasn’t really sure exactly what that meant but who knew, maybe, just maybe I could still be the next Cuban Martha Stewart (even though by now I was secretly obsessed with Ina Garten)! I was already working as a Home Economics teacher but I just knew that I had way too much passion bottled up inside of me and I wanted to do so much more :))) I decided to go to Culinary School and see what would happen 🙂

For a while, I was teaching full-time, going to culinary school, working as a private chef, running a culinary camp for kids during the summertime, and developing recipes for my website and social accounts. As my website and accounts picked up steam, I eventually left my full-time teaching job and I also stopped working as a private chef. And now, I mostly focus on brand partnerships, content + recipe development, teaching, and culinary camp during the summer (that’s my baby)!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Ha, not at all! Nothing is ever easy when your building a business from the ground up! I always felt that I had to work twice as hard! Not only because I was older or even trying to make my mark in a male-dominated industry (plus now it wasn’t just cooking either), I had to build a social media presence, connect with my audience, learn to make videos (leveraging technology when that’s not your jam is no joke) oh, and stand out! I was all over the place, and it took me a while to find my own rhythm, but that’s the key! There is a ton of content and competition out there, and you have to find what defines you and makes you different.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I am not the Cuban Martha Stewart that I dreamt of being when I was 1o 🙂 However, I run The Mad Table full-time and simple Latin Fusion and teaching turned out to be my thing!!! I just published my first cookbook, The Essential Cuban Cookbook available everywhere they sell books!!! I teach themed cooking classes at Miami Culinary Institute, I host live healthy cooking classes for Avmed Health on their Facebook page, I teach in-person and virtual cooking classes, I host culinary camp for kids out of my home, and I provide content for national and global brands (develop recipes and food style, to promote their brand).

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Absolutely, I had to be flexible and open to learning new things! You know how I mentioned earlier that technology is not my jam, well, I had no choice but to depend on digital tech in order to still run and grow my business during the pandemic. This was the only means to connecting with families that were forced to become more resourceful in their kitchen due to Covid-19. It’s funny, as I thought of minimal ingredient recipes, I realized that I was a little too cheffy for some people that had never cooked before and just needed to provide a meal for their family (although if you would have asked me before the pandemic, I would have said that my recipes were 100% approachable to everyone)! That’s what got me thinking that I wanted to share virtually really simple recipes that kids at home could be involved in the food prep and help with the process. It was important to help parents be at ease in the kitchen while kids and parents both learned to cook (I had always taught kids to cook but never with their parents). I started to cook live on Instagram twice a week and cook with anyone that wanted to cook with me. We made quick recipes like picadillo, chicken meatballs, sheet pan dinners, chocolate chip cookies, skillet blondies… Nothing fancy, but it was very cool to see families cook together, mastering easy recipes, but most importantly building self-confidence. I miss that!

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Profile Pic: Photography by Diego Texera

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