Interview with Yvette Sharpnack

 Yvette Marquez Sharpnack author of Muy Bueno and Latin Twist Cookbooks

Being that we’re an El Paso born and raised business we know a thing or two about Southwestern recipes’.

And it’s no wonder we know Yvette Marquez–Sharpnack another El Paso born and raised recipe specialist!

It’s likely if you’re a fan of southwest style cuisine and Hispanic culture that you’ve seen some of her work. She’s a writer and publisher of the famed "Muy Bueno Cookbooks", Emmy winner for her documentary short, "Day of the Dead, Sugar Skulls", has a hugely followed blog and in between all of that, she cooks! And boy does she cook! You’ll see all sorts of recipes in both, Muy Bueno Cookbook and Latin Twist.

But the thing that makes Yvette different is her sense of cultural identity. In fact, from what we see, her love of cooking is only outweighed by her strong sense of culture and her embrace of those special nuances that the Hispanic culture brings to the world of cooking. Very apropos when you consider the very act of cooking is to share with others.

We had an opportunity to speak with Yvette and to give her some time for a change as opposed to all the great brands she’s created. So here is our interview with a fascinating, authentic El Paso original who has carved out her own road in life by using her love of culture and food.

Muy Bueno Cookbook logo

Claude’s: You’ve taken cooking to a whole new level turning your passion into a brand. But it also looks like it happened naturally for you. Take us back to the very beginning before any seed was planted and how did the whole thing start for you?

Yvette: It was not natural by any means! I grew up helping my grandma and mom in the kitchen because I had to, not because I loved it. Cooking was not a passion of mine when I was in my teens and early 20s. I did not want to be “stuck” in the kitchen. It was until I had my own children and after my grandma passed away that I realized how blessed I was eating the amazing Mexican dishes I grew up eating. I decided to preserve those recipes that were never written down and design a cookbook for my children. I started as a journal and a journey of writing the cookbook and before I knew it I had fans wanting our family recipes and the cookbook.

Claude’s: You do a lot of cookbook writing with your family, a lot of these recipes are your family’s own personal recipe’s is that correct?

Muy Bueno Cookbook author Yvette Marquez Sharpnack cooks enchiladas with her mom

Yvette: When I first had the idea of writing a cookbook I turned to my mom and told her we should write it together. After a couple of months, I asked my sister if she wanted to assist. The three of us are the authors of the published cookbook. It took us over two years to write, photograph, and find a publisher to publish the cookbook Muy Bueno

It was even republished in Spanish! 

The blog, is now my baby and it’s my online cookbook where I continue to share recipes. When my mom visits she assists which is wonderful.

Claude’s: There’s a strong correlation between the health of a family and the food they eat. Being a family that cooks and eats nutritiously do you find it easier to keep your family focused on nutritious foods as opposed to junk foods/processed foods?

Yvette: I think the big difference is eating real food. I cook a lot so there is no need to be tempted with fast food or processed foods.

Claude’s: Have you noticed any differences in health with your family due to your decision to eat nutritious home cooked meals?

Yvette: We eat a lot of home cooked meals and I feel we are all very healthy because of it and not to mention we all lead a healthy lifestyle. My children are athletes and keep very busy with their sports.

Claude’s: What advice do you have for families that may not have the time to prepare home cooked foods as much as they would like?

Yvette: I think the hard part is planning. Once you have a plan/menu and all the ingredients then cooking is not that hard. There is even online grocery shopping and meal delivery services that give everyone no excuse.

Claude’s: Have your children shown an interest in the art of cooking yet?

Yvette: Absolutely! Both kids love to help me in the kitchen. I always recommend getting children involved with shopping, prepping, and cooking. If kids are involved then they will be excited to taste the food they helped make.

A Day of the Dead painted girl holds a Muy Bueno Cookbook

Claude’s: Speaking of children, you featured yours in an impressive documentary short called, Day of the Dead:Sugar Skulls', you won an Emmy for it and it had nothing to do with a Comic Con event! How did that whole idea even start?

Yvette: ComicCon? Confused! Anyway, my children did not grow up knowing my grandma like I did, but it has been a mission of mine to keep her memory alive. If it wasn’t for her there would not be the recipes I grew up eating. She was the matriarch of our family and I want to honor that. Every year we celebrate Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with a celebration, recipe, craft, video…something. And yes, I produced and wrote a video and my son narrated it and who knew it would ever win and Emmy. Pretty proud moment!!! 

On the set of Day of the Dead Sugar Skulls, documentary short

Claude’s: You have two cookbooks, Muy Bueno and Latin Twist. Do you plan to publish anymore cookbooks?

Yvette: I would love to. I have the perfect idea for another book, I just need to make the time to write it. My blog has kept me very busy and has become my full-time career and passion project.

Claude’s: What is the one piece of advice you give to anyone out there that is just starting out learning how to cook?

Yvette: Pick up cooking magazines, follow food blogs, watch cooking shows. And just follow recipes. Eventually you will feel comfortable to substitute ingredients to make them your own.

And with that Yvette was finished our interview, taking a much needed and deserved Sangria break for the evening. You can catch Yvette on her Facebook page at:

And of course, you can get a copy of her fabulous, “Muy Bueno Cookbook” by clicking this address (check out her wonderful recipe for brisket)

Thanks Yvette!

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