We are so excited to welcome Marizel Yuen, our new Incubator Operations Manager!
Marizel will be helping us manage the day-to-day operations in our Food Incubator Program and helping our chefs navigate the food business system. We interviewed Marizel about her background and goals for this position.
Tell us about yourself.
My love for food is deeply rooted in my family’s history, tracing back to generations of passionate cooks and farmers in the Philippines. This culinary heritage was a significant part of my childhood, and when my family relocated to Seattle when I was just 10 years old, I found myself yearning for the traditional Filipino dishes that had been a staple in our home.
In our new city, Filipino eateries were few and far between, and this scarcity sparked an idea in my young mind – what if I could open my own restaurant? This thought planted the seed of a dream that would eventually lead me to enroll at the Seattle Culinary Academy, marking the beginning of my journey in the food industry. To fund my tuition, I worked in various restaurants and catering companies, gaining invaluable experience along the way.
In 2013, I took the leap and founded my first food venture – a mobile food truck and meal prep service that prioritized locally sourced produce and healthy ingredients. This venture was a success, and it wasn’t long before I expanded my entrepreneurial efforts by establishing a commercial kitchen and food incubator, designed to support and nurture small food businesses in the area.
How did you learn about FIN?
My path led me to the Food Innovation Network, a project I discovered during a visit to a coffee shop in Renton. They were hosting a food pop-up, and my curiosity was instantly piqued. After introducing myself, I was invited to a meeting where I met potential kiosk business owners. As an immigrant myself, I felt a deep connection with these entrepreneurs. We shared the same dreams of business ownership and faced similar challenges along our journeys.
What are your goals for this position?
This new role presents an exciting opportunity for me to connect with, learn from, and better understand the unique needs of these entrepreneurs. My goal is to provide effective support and collaborate with them to establish systems that will enhance their operations. This includes standardizing recipes and implementing inventory management strategies to promote consistency, efficiency, and productivity in their day-to-day operations. I firmly believe that a well-designed roadmap is crucial to achieving both short-term and long-term goals.