Even if you’ve never ordered a chipotle-infused Duke City Ruben at Slow Roasted Bocadillos, there’s a good chance you’d recognize Marie Yniguez from her many appearances on Food Network shows such as Chopped, Guy’s Grocery Games, and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
The 44-year-old native New Mexican is all about representing her hometown of Albuquerque and introducing the rest of the world to New Mexico’s food and culture.
“New Mexico is in my blood,” says Yniguez. “Our culinary style here is very traditional and family-oriented, yet it’s filled with dynamic flavors influenced by a surprising variety of different cultures. We cook like our mamas!”
Yniguez’s first official culinary job was at Wendy’s, where she experienced the line-cook rush, an adrenaline blast that kitchen workers often feel after putting out order after order for hours and hours. “You’re shaking, sweating, and feeling amazing, knowing you did that without knowing exactly what happened,” she says. She was hooked. After years of working in other restaurants, Yniguez and her wife, Karla Arvizu, launched Bocadillos Catering in 2009. Four years later, they opened Slow Roasted Bocadillos, an award-winning sandwich shop whose made-from-scratch dishes, including breakfast burritos and an unparalleled Cubano, are jam-packed with meats slow-roasted for at least 12 hours.
“I love anything between two pieces of bread,” says Yniguez, laughing. “Our food is made slow and low with all our love. We want to make sure customers leave full, happy, and satisfied.”
Celebrated for her philanthropic acts, the popular chef is known for giving back to the community, at one point preparing two meals a day for more than 1,000 schoolkids. “It makes my heart happy to know that, through food, we can change the world,” she says. “Or, at least, somebody’s world.”