Celebrating Hispanic & Latinx Heritage Month: Vanessa Guerrero

September 22, 2021

Vanessa Guerrero has been with Morrison Living for two years. She came to the U.S. with her family 18 years ago from the small town of Acatic in Jalisco, Mexico, the birthplace of mariachi music. As the youngest of 11 children, Vanessa has a deep connection to her family and tries to visit her home country at least once a year to reconnect with her roots. Read Vanessa’s story to learn what inspires this budding chef and how she inspires others.

What is one of your greatest memories related to your heritage?
In my family, everything is mariachi. I grew up with the music and it’s always been a part of my family history. I don’t play an instrument, but some of my brothers and sisters do, and I sing. My dad and uncles even have a band in Enid. My daughter’s only five, but she’s so excited about having a mariachi band at her Quinceanera!

What do you like most about your Hispanic heritage?
The food! It’s so, so good! I love to make tamales and there are so many different kinds, not just meat or chicken. I also love barbacoa – an authentic Mexican dish typically made with beef, goat or lamb and seasoned with dried chilies and spices. There is so much good food, and I love sharing recipes from my culture. 

How does your heritage influence your cooking?
When I go back to my hometown in Mexico, cooking is very different. We might use rocks or a grill or different things to cook our meat. At work, I try to add Mexican influences and ingredients – spices like cumin or jalapenos, or even adding a little guacamole – into dishes where I can. I also love to include fruits that balance out the spices, like pineapples or oranges, to add an extra layer of flavor. Those fruits are very popular in Mexican cooking.  

How long have you wanted to be a cook?
Since I was 13. I started out waiting tables and would go into the kitchen when I could. I would sneak back to try to do some cooking, then go back out front and wait tables. I also learned a lot about cooking from my mom.

I’m a single mom and I love cooking with my 5-year-old daughter. Desserts are her favorite thing to make. She says she wants to be a cook like me!

How do you show up authentically at work?
I am just a happy person. This job doesn’t feel like work to me! I like that I can help other Hispanic team members, sometimes translating for them, sometimes teaching them. I love to share ideas with others. I am happy to share how I am cooking something or what I am doing. I’ll answer any questions. We can all learn from each other.