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The Food Bank Hero

Natalie Romero

Los Angeles, CA


  • Natalie comes from a big Mexican family in Los Angeles but she always surprises people with that fact because of her self-described 'Valley girl' accent. She loves to make Mexican cuisine and blow the minds of strangers with how authentic it truly is.

  • After working in marketing for many years, Natalie decided to leave the industry and go to culinary school after working on a volunteer campaign helping inner city youth eat healthier. She then spent her days cooking Monday through Friday for 300 children at a non-profit afterschool program.

  • Natalie learned how to really cook on a budget while working with the children at her program. She spent hours going to the food bank and picking up the food that no one else wanted. Natalie's secret weapon in the kitchen is being creative with the produce she was given and using it in several different ways so all the meals didn't feel repetitive.

  • A pro at swapping ingredients for healthier and budget-friendly options, Natalie loves being creative and doing the unexpected. If the children at the non-profit wanted burgers but they didn't have any meat, Natalie would look through the pantry and find beans, corn and other veggies and make a smashed black bean burger.

  • Natalie spends a lot of time focusing on foods from specific regions when she is cooking. While Mexican food is her "home," Natalie loves cooking meals from Morocco, Japan and China as well as other countries known for their food culture.

  • Previously appeared on Guy's Grocery Games in 2013.

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