There’s a Monte Carlo Steeped In History…and Another Monti Carlo Steeped In “Pizazz”

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Mairym Monti Carlo celebrity chef, small business owner, author speaks with Latin Business Today

Mairym better known as Monti is a versatile Host-Judge for the Food Network, Co-Founder Everything Food Inc, a cook book author, motivational speaker, TV- Radio Host and a multi-lingual voice over artist.

Judging Food Network Star with Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Robert Irvine
Monti (2nd left) Judging Food Network Star with Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis, Robert Irvine

Monti what where the major factors which helped shape your multiple career aspirations? 

My mother’s family is from Colombia and my father is from Puerto Rico by way of Italy and Spain. I did not grow up with my parents. My father’s mother raised my twin brother and I on a little farm in Boquerón, Puerto Rico.

Monti Carlo and twin brother on our farm in Boqueron, Puerto Rico
Monti with her twin brother on the family farm in Boqueron, Puerto Rico

The farm was overrun with mango, tamarind, quenepa, lemon, cherry, and plantain trees. We had fresh fish, crabs, chicken, and pork.

My very first memories are of my Abuela standing in her kitchen and cooking traditional Puerto Rican dishes with all of these ingredients. The sights, sounds, smells, and flavors of that time in my life are still what I hold most dear.

Was there an early experience which shaped your career goals as a business owner and/or an entertainer?

I was so shy as a child that I could spend the whole day without saying a single word. In high school, I took theater and speech classes and began to understand the power of transporting an audience to a different time and place through story.

My first performance was Our Town, where I played Emily. I will never forget looking at the front row of the audience as I said the last words of my last scene.

They were wiping tears from their eyes. I fell in love with story telling that night. I knew then that no matter what I did, I wanted to be able to connect with people on that level.

Monti Carlo cake

Tell us about the people who have influenced the growth of your business.
 How did you get started in the media and food industry?

In the late 90’s I became a fan of Food Network and would fall asleep after late shifts at the restaurant I worked at watching Emeril.

I dreamt of becoming a food TV host just like him. That led to TV and Radio broadcasting school, where I quickly forgot about Food TV and focused on becoming a morning radio personality.

My career as a morning radio host and stand-up comic began in 2000. I did not turn to food as a form of storytelling until 2010 when I competed on MasterChef 3 with Gordon Ramsay.

MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay
Monti as a contestant on MasterChef with Gordon Ramsay
My first show on FYI. Make My Food Famous
Monti’s first show on FYI. Make My Food Famous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was then that I realized I had a talent for telling my story on a plate. I got jobs in kitchens throughout LA to sharpen my cooking skills and taught classes to home cooks. I started my catering company Island Girl Cooks shortly thereafter and did whatever it took to keep me out of a 9 to 5.

 

More Monti…