Chef, author, and TV host, Marcela Valladolid is indeed a jack of all trades. While in town for the 9th annual Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival, the mommy-to-be stopped by InStyle, and chatted with our Lifestyle Editor Anne Vorrasi about her upcoming projects, both personal and professional, including her third book, Casa Marcela, which will be out next spring. Like her previous books Mexican Made Easy ($19; amazon.com) and Fresh Mexico ($18; amazon.com), Casa Marcela will include a medley of easy-to-execute recipes from her Mexican heritage, but with an entertaining emphasis. "It's always going to be Mexican food,” she says on the theme of her books. “That's what's near and dear to my heart, and you always want to cook from the heart. People respond more to what's your true story, and what you kind of really grew up with."
Valladolid also gave some sound advice on throwing a Halloween party suitable for both adults and children.
1. Keep the space confined
In her own parties, Valladolid sets up a lounge area in the middle of her garden to keep her guests interacting in one shared space.
2. Set up a special area for the kids
Valladolid suggests setting up an outdoor movie-viewing area with a screen and projector, complete with fire pit and s'mores. This keeps the kids distracted and contained in one area, freeing up the adults to enjoy the party.
RELATED: Harry Potter Is Coming to New York This Halloween
3. Set up self-serve food stations
Chances are you'll come across picky eaters at your party—both adults and kids! Valladolid advises setting up food stations where guests can create their own adventure.
Watch the complete video for more details on Valldolid's tips.
Hey Facebook, thanks for tuning in. My name in Ann Verosi. I'm the lifestyle editor at InStyle Magazine. And this afternoon I am here with a very special guest, Marcela Viadele. Perfect! Great pronunciation. And you are in town just for a few days. You're based in the west coast, but you're in town for a very special festival that's happening this weekend in New York City. It is the The ninth Food Network and Cooking Channel Wine and Food Festival. Yes, yes. So can you tell me a little bit about what you're gonna be doing there? Of course, I'm super excited. It's been going on, like you said, for years. And for those of us in the cooking world, it's so great to be invited and participate. It's such an important festival. Mm-hm. And then we get to hang out with all our chef friends Friends.>> Yeah.>> And super cool.>> I'm hosting an event with Katy Lee my co-host from The Kitchen. Hi Katy. I love her dearly. She's a real friend. And we're hosting an event called The Harvest Festival at the High Line.>> Okay.>> And it's from 12 to 3 on Saturday.>> Okay.>> And we're going to be there. Great fall foods. And we're taking advantage of this Beautiful weather and beautiful foods that come from jumping into the falls.>> Nice.>> So it will be a great party. Great meeting grid. Outdoor.>.> We'll be there hanging out. Outdoor.>> Yeah.>> The weather is so beautiful right now.>> Yeah. It really is.>> Hanging out. Yeah. So that's the festival.>. I see. So the festival is going on i think starting to night and goes though Sunday and they're like Hundreds of events going on with tons of celebrity chefs. My gosh, everybody's here. John is here, Bobby's here, Rachel's here. Exactly. Everybody's here. Jeffery Zakarian from the show. Yeah. Like everybody from the Food Network is here. Right. So, and it's a charity for No Kid Hungry. Your money from the tickets and whatnot goes for a good cause. Awesome, and if you wanna buy tickets you can at nycwff.org. So you can go online and see what is available still. So you're here for that this weekend, but you're also working on a ton of different things at once. I am. Including that. Including making human, like you. Like myself. [LAUGH] So you are currently the cohost on the show The Chew.>> No.>> No. I'm sorry The Kitchen.>> The Chew is awesome. Hi.>> So you are there with four other chefs.>> Yeah And you are also working on a cookbook. Yes. Right. So you have two cookbooks already that came out in the previous year. One is called Mexico Made Easy. Yes. And the other is Fresh Mexico, and I'm working on my My third. I see a [UNKNOWN] Exactly, but actually we're, it's always going to be Mexican food because that's what near and dear to my heart and you kinda want to always cook from the heart and from experience. I think people just respond more to what's, you know, your true story and what you really grew up with and that's for me it's always going to be, i grew up on a Mexican side of the border and [UNKNOWN] so It's always about that but this book is really personal to me, it's called Casa Marcela which means Marcela's home literally. And it's a slight departure from the other books because it took literally took place the whole production of it, the shooting of the food in my home with my family, with my friends, cooking in real time So it's taking a peep like the window to my house in Santiago and seeing what it is when we hang out or when I throw a party or when I'm cooking a week night meal. Or when my fiance is actually firing up the grill and obviously heavily influenced by the foods of Batha that I grew up with. And always as I have tried through my career it just make it really accessible to think about I was in Mexico, but what ingredients can you guys find on this side of the border. Right. And those are my limitations, but how do I keep it authentic anyway. Yeah. So that's kind of the goal. So it's a very kind of a California Mexican take on Growing up on two sides of the border cuz I would, I would cross the border everyday to San Diego and then go back to Mexico so it's about the bi-cultural upbringing. I talk about that as well, crossing the border every single day to go to schools, so just fun stuff. So and you mentioned that you're gonna shoot it all in your home. Yes. And I've seen photos of your home. If you follow her Instagram account, it's ChefMarcela, just one L. Yes. You love to entertain. You have a beautiful outdoor space. Thank you. In your living room you have a really great shelf Setup I remember like, really nice vignettes. Thankyou. But you, you are always instagramming things from your home and you do a lot of projects that are so obviously what I mean you are expecting someone in you, you must be also working on. Nursery project. I am. I am. And other stuff like that. But I love that you mention the house. Yeah. It is such an important part of this book. But it's become such an important part of everything I do. Yeah. I have a 1400 square foot organic edible garden based on the fruits and vegetables of Mexico cuz it's You know that's my cooking. Yeah. But the home is kind of, I wanted it to be like even if I wasn't home when somebody walked in [UNKNOWN] house. Yeah. It's very representative of my travels in Mexico, the culture and the food and the feeling, it's all very like collected pieces from all over Mexico and Latin America. Yeah. So yeah, it's like, it's almost like another family member, you know. But yes, we're working, I'm working on the nursery and I'm really excited. And I try to, in every single room of the house I like to theme things. That was my mom, my mom always wanted to theme. She went a little overboard with the themes and I talk about this in the cookbooks. She was, she went crazy, like everything had to have a theme, right. So for the nursery I'm going with owls. Cute. Cuz I love the significance. But I make it very subtle so everything has to be, everything is blush rose. It's a girl, she's a girl. Yea, and you have two boys already. I have two boys already, this is my third. And I'm working on getting different, they just sent me these Two beautiful pillows made out of hand-woven, original Mexican textiles that used to be a dress and they made them in to pillows for the nursery. So I like to have pieces that subtly represent my culture in every room. Yeah I think it is important to keep that culture that I grew up with alive through my kids and I think those kinda you know subtle decor touches that kinda express tech styles or the colors, or the traditions. I think it is a way to kinda keep it all alive on the US side of the border. Nice Yeah. One question I have for you is, because we're kind of in similar boats, is sometimes I come home and I'm very hungry. Yes. But I'm so tired, like I just can't deal. Yes. But I also don't wanna like be buying dinner every night, ordering in for various reasons. But What do I do? [LAUGH] So here's what I would suggest. I would say kill the hunger first, just so you become a human that people can deal with, cuz I am an angry hungry person. I get hangry. So my suggestion would be just kinda kill the hunger first with some appetizers. Slice up an apple. And favorite concoction, which is super easy, you can do it over [UNKNOWN], which just means Put a little water in a pot and put a bowl over it. Yeah. And I like to mix coconut butter, almond milk, and just a tiny bit of water to dilute. And it becomes a really nice dipping sauce for apples. Mm-hm. So you can do that and sprinkle with a little shredded coconut. Yeah. You can have it, or almonds, that's a great little snack to keep you kind of filled up while you're cooking. Yeah. I would absolutely say that for us i'll go to meals and I did it in my last pregnancy, easy proteins. For me an easy proteins like an apple because I know how to cook them so well so I slice up the chops, put some herbs all over and garlic. Put them on the grill pan and there done and literally three minute precise yeah So that maybe ten-fifteen minute prep And then it's a three to four minute cooking time. Yeah. So got food immediately. Yeah. You know. What I like to do a lot to is be ready for those moment. Yes [LAUGH] So on Monday. What I do, is I actually go through my fridge and look through the veggies that are starting to look kind sad. Not to the point where you need to throw them out, but they start getting dehydrated and stuff. Yeah, yeah. And I roast them. Mm-hm. Just so that I have for Monday, Tuesday, something to snack on. Yeah. In case I come home and I'm like, give me food. Who'd know? So a little bit of olive oil, garlic, maybe shallots. Maybe some chopped fresh rosemary, chopped fresh thyme. Pop them in, you know, roast them for 15 to 20 minutes at 400. Nice and chopped up. And then you;ve got a snack for right when you come home, that you can throw it on a salad. You can warm it up and serve it with grilled chicken. And I think it's just a great way to kind of.>> Awesome.>> And to get your veggies too.>> Yeah. Especially when you're pregnant and you have to eat smart. Yeah well also something else that's coming up is Halloween. Yes. And we do have a viewer question that just came in. Yes. John wants to know any great tips for throwing a Halloween party I'm actually throwing one this year, but it's not for me, it's for my son Fausto, so he's 12. So, I would definitely say, and this was actually my sister's best entertainer in the world, I got most of my tips from her. It keeps this space kind of confined. There's nothing more so than a spread out party when you can't really see people. So what we do, I set up a nice little lounge literally in the middle of my garden. I bring furniture from inside of the house. Was outside I'd cover it with some of my sarapes or blankets so it doesn't get dirty cuz it is kids. So it keeps kind of the whole party concentrated in this one area and we set up a screen and a projector And it just keeps the kids. I mean if this is for kids, if you wanna entertain for kids and you don't want them running around and you don't want them in your house and you don't want them making a mess, an outdoor movie, it keeps like I did it a couple of years ago and they were ten and to keep ten year old sitting in the same spot for an hour and a half. It's kinda miraculous. Yeah. And we did it with a movie. Yeah. And they just sat there, and we just, all I did was a fire pit. Mm-hm. Set up a s'mores table, and they did their s'mores, and they watched the movie, and it was all contained in this very small central area of my home. Yeah. So everything just kinda happened there. Yeah. And then we put on the music, and they hung out there. And I think that's actually applicable for adults too. We actually set it up And I kept the whole set-up the whole weekend.>> Yeah.>> And then I did a sleep over with my family the next day, and all my nieces and nephews. So we just of took advantage of the set-up, for the whole weekend.>> Yeah.>> Yeah.>> You're also really into Day of the Dead.>> I am.>> And in celebrating that.>> I am. growing up on the Mexican side of the boarder, from Mexican parents. It's really important for me to. Not just because it's such a colorful, gorgeous holiday or celebration, but because it kind of shows people, or my job is to show people that it's not a morbid, kind of dark, gory celebration, as Halloween can be sometimes. I like the happy Halloween decor. I don't like the scary stuff. But Day of the Dead is all about celebrating life. Right. It's all, and every single year wince my mom passed ten years ago, you set up an altar per tradition and I set it in honor of my mom. So every year we get to sit and talk about her and her pictures are up and there's candles that are lit. And you set the altar with so many different elements that are very symbolic and maxing in culture. We have marigolds, the candles, there's a dog to lead cuz supposedly she comes back that night to celebrate and then she takes here journey back to the other side. And there are elements on the altar that help her, like there's always a glass of water, there's always a dog, and so in case he's thirsty, there's some wine, she wants to. Party and her favorite food- Yeah. Had to appear at the altar. It's very symbolic. So, yeah, I just love celebrating. I just love showing people what real Mexican culture- Yeah. Is cuz there's still a lot of misconceptions. Yeah. Yeah. So do you do like a big event where everyone gets their face painted and it's like- You know what? No. I've done it a couple times with the The kids. But what I do honestly, I do October 31st which is Halloween. Yeah. And then just kind of a mashup cuz Day of the Dead is November 1st and 2nd. Okay. That's when you celebrate it. Okay. So, but usually, the kids are all dressed up for Halloween and that's when the moms, like the moms can do like Halloween and Day of the Dead. Yeah. So I pick Halloween. And I do a nice Halloween party, but we also celebrate Day of the Dead. And the way I make it inclusive for the other kids and to show them about our culture A lot of, most of folks in my community are Mexican and they know the tradition already. But I, when I send out the invites so I say this altar is for everybody so if you wanna celebrate someone in your life that's passed away bring a picture. Yeah. And we'll put it on the altar. So And the party, it becomes a very celebratory, beautiful, not sad kind of occasion. Yeah. That everybody, in the neighborhood, can partake in. Yeah. Yeah. And what kind of food are you serving at these parties? I keep it really simple I usually fire up the glow and I do like Mexican sell hot dogs or I do [UNKNOWN]. And I like to do, I think that in any sort of entertaining situation you really have to think about ways to make it self service. I think people are very picky with their food especially kids. Mm-hm. There is a lot allergies. So, I kinda put the responsibility on the moms and when they email, I usually do printed invites and emails. The printed invite is just kind of the cute, whatever, date, location, blah, blah, but in the email, I'm like listen, this is how it's going down, these will be the foods, let me know if you've got, if there's an allergy or an intolerance and I like to Set up a bar and I make the moms responsible for their kids and this, I kinda do the same for adults even when I'm entertaining for whether it's a big crowd or a little crowd or adults or kids, I kinda focus on the self serve sort of both at the bar and at the dinner table. Nice. So are you making like cocktails or punches that people can serve themselves. 100% and I'd like to have one signature drink, I think that really helps with your With your budgeting, you dont have to think about mixers or different alcohols or anything like that. Yeah. You can make like a really nice concoction like a really nice winter punches good for, you know, the Halloween parties that I have. I always have something for the moms, they like to have a drink so I make a beautiful punch bowl Yeah. And then it is also served. Nice. Yeah. I love a good self-serve taco bar station kind of situation. 100%. Yeah. And some kids, they don't want all of the garnishes. Yeah, yeah. Or the adults, or some people, they want to make it vegetarian. Yeah. So they just stick to whatever. I always have grilled vegetables. I always have grilled proteins. So people can [UNKNOWN] just mix and match and do whatever they want. Yeah, totally. We have one more question that came in from a viewer. Yes. Tony wants to know if you have any tips for Christmas tamale preparation. My goodness, yeah. I could walk you the process, but we'd be here for another half an hour. I would say, what is my best tip for tamale preparation? There's many, but I would say the secret to a good tamale is in the masa. And I think because, does it say, what's his background? What's his last name? I don't know that information. Okay, cuz I was gonna say, if you Grew upon this side of the border and you are familiar with like dolls from like baking. Yeah. And he's a cook if you don't want to make the malice. It's good for you Tony wasn't it? You're brave. Yeah, Tony. Tony, you're awesome. And people think people think that the taser that tamal though. Tamal. Is supposed to be kind of like a pie dough and it's not. In order for it to be a nice, by nice I mean not dense, they need to be fluffy. There needs to be more filling than matzoh. A lot of the stores, or a lot of the vendors will give you more matzoh cuz it's cheaper. But you're looking for more of the filling. And in order to get it more Fluffy that's your edition of fat in liquid in the [UNKNOWN] Okay. So it instead of it being like a dough that you pat into the corn [UNKNOWN] it has to be like a smear, a really light fluffy smear. It's moist, it sticks, it's not like a pie dough that you can literally roll it in the palm of your hand if you have a little fat and it's like play dough [UNKNOWN] It's making me hungry.>>I know.>You just need to be able to kind of smear it.>>Interesting.>Yeah. It needs to be really soft and really billowy and really airy. And you're going to get that with the addition of fat. And people are so crazy about like substitutions and If you're making tamales, make them with lard, that's my thing. You know what I'm saying? Go eat kale if you're on a diet. If you're making tamales do it the right way. It's such an investment in time, not in money necessarily, cuz it's inexpensive ingredients. But if you're gonna do it, do it the right way. Get some good seasoned lard. That makes all the difference. Yeah. Do you season it yourself? Well, see here's the thing. There's, will see here's the deal. If you cook a lot with it, just save it you just save it and reuse. It is what it is. In Mexico you can find seasoned lard. It is what it is. We make a lot of tamales. Yeah on that side of the border. But you can certainly season it yourself. But here is the thing, when you are tasting those kind of melt in your mouth absolutely scrumptious tamales in Mexico, you are eating lard that has been seasoned time and time again. Yeah. Yeah, so that is why they are so good. Nice. It's all about the flavor. Alrighty. Well, I wanna thank you so much for your time and for walking us through so many good tips for Halloween and for [UNKNOWN] and for what to do when you're pregnant and hungry at the end of the day. [LAUGH] So if you are in the New York City area go to nycwff.org to try to get tickets for the festival. And tune in to The Kitchen to watch. Yes, please. Marcela, Saturdays 11 AM. All right. Awesome, well thank you so much. Thank you. Congratulations, baby girls! Baby girls, we're having baby girls. Thank you [LAUGH] [FOREIGN] [BLANK_AUDIO]