widely celebrated food stylist, tastemaker, and published author, Mariana Velasquez is a triple threat in the culinary and professional world.
She has managed to successfully dovetail her love for both the cuisine and the art into a flourishing career and lifestyle. Her work, both delectable and beautiful, has taken her to the far expanses of the most renowned culinary circles. Her expertise has landed her in the White House kitchen and garden in a partnership with First Lady Michelle Obama. She has published two recipe books and collaborated on more than twenty cookbooks throughout her career. And she has been featured in a variety of publications including (but not limited to) the New York Times, Vogue, Food & Wine, Bon Appetite and more. She’s also currently a space owner here at Splacer.
Recently, we got the chance to ask the food, fashion and art maven about her journey, what inspires her, and her best tips to share.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background and your space here in New York?
I’m Mariana Velasquez. l am a tastemaker from Bogota, Colombia. I am in the world of food, creativity and design. My work as a food stylist has appeared in many magazines, cookbooks and all kinds of advertising. Yes. I spoon fed vanilla ice cream to Bradley Cooper once... I have lived a couple of decades in New York City in about 8 different apartments and this is the first time I’ve lived in Brooklyn. Our space in South Williamsburg is filled with art, books, plates, glassware plants and light. My husband Diego and I are avid art collectors; we love entertaining - hence the 12-seat table and additional chairs, just in case.
It’s no secret that you’re a very accomplished food stylist, having published two cookbooks, collaborated with renowned publications such as Vogue, and worked with the White House. What do you love most about your job?
My job is the one space in which I feel free. Doing what I love gives me passion, assertiveness, and puts me in a state in which I don’t notice the passing of time.
I adore working with creative people who hone their skills to create beauty and harmony.
When did you know you wanted to be a food stylist?
I always knew I wanted to have a career in food. I didn’t know food styling existed 20 years ago and learning about food and culture took me here.
Where do you find inspiration?
Art shows, interior magazines, architecture books, and the New Yorker (there was a New Yorker story that changed the course of my creative process for food forever).
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Reaching a point where I began to experience my work as art.
How important is space to you when styling a photoshoot or film?
Space is energy. Whether it is a beautiful loft or carriage house, a photo studio or a stone patio, the space sets the scene. Either as a location or for the crew to create and be inspired.
We don’t want you to spill all your secrets, but what is your top tip to hosting and setting the ultimate dinner party?
My top tips: when in doubt, roast a chicken, open red wine and wear red lipstick. Keep it simple and fun. Set the table the day before.
What is your go-to dish to cook when entertaining?
I use the seasons to inspire my cooking. I go through phases; at times, I’m making slow-roasted cod with Chermoula, and others, I’m making seafood Sancocho. I allow ingredients to dictate what I’ll make.
Can you tell us a little about your business Buenlimón Apron?
One of the things that I missed the most while working as a line cook at places such as Prune and The Post Ranch Inn was dressing up for work - something you don’t get to do if you change into a chef’s coat as soon as you get to your job! When I began working as a stylist, I was in constant search for good-looking aprons that complemented what I was wearing but were also utilitarian. So I designed my own and it became my signature on set- and then eventually a brand.
Back to your space, can you tell us what you love most about your listed apartment? This could be a piece of furniture, or even your favorite room!
I love our space; its northern and southern exposure fills the rooms with gorgeous light all year round. Each area is very unique, but my ultimate favorite is the roof which is decked out with lights, a grill and vintage furniture. I cannot wait for warmer days so we can use it more.
What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Splacer community?
Being in contact with creatives who care a lot about special spaces, who appreciate experiences and attention to detail. Not to mention how impressive it is to see how Splacer has grown all over.
To learn more about Mariana and her work, visit her website at https://marianavelasquez.com/
Mariana’s spacious and sun-drenched loft, located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY, encompasses a 20-foot-high ceiling, exposed brick walls, eclectic art collections, and exclusive access to a private rooftop. To check out her space and reserve a booking, visit her space page here.