We had the good fortune of connecting with Gissel Guzman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Gissel, how does your business help the community?
Nopalinda believes in Unity and Equality for all. I believe everyone should have access to healthier life styles. My goal is to change how everyone views Veganism one plate at a time. If I am able to change one person’s view they too can help spread awareness. All it takes is one Person after that it’s word of mouth that takes care of the rest. In the process of building my empire I would love to give back to my community as well as helping them in any way I  can. I would love for my food to be accessible to everyone. As I continue to grow i can’t help but to always be thankful for the community that always stands behind me. In the future I would like to be a holistic chef and be able to heal those around me through food.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One of the things I am most proud of is my roots and culture. That’s what sets me apart from everyone else, each plate I serve is authentic to those in taste to the ones i grew up with but without animals. I started this journey because of my mom having cancer, her diets were very restrictive. I wanted her to see it wasn’t hard to live without meat. She didn’t believe it was possible, I made it a point to prove her wrong. Any time i hear “this is vegan?” I feel extremely accomplished because it took so many failed attempts of replicating dishes i grew up with! Until FINALLY I was able to create the perfect recipes we all seem to love and enjoy as a children. It wasn’t easy to get to where I am now, one thing I realized along the way is that I will forever be a a student to my craft. You will always need help so don’t be afraid to ask for it! Always have a solid team and anything is possible.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There is many people i want to highlight but the person who is making sure I see my dream come true is my girlfriend. When I feel like giving up she’s always right there reminding me why I started. She always shows up for me every single time! She is my biggest supporter and fan. I remember crying and being stressed at my old job she told me to quit. I quit in order for me to have more time to invest into my business. After six months of doing Nopalinda full time I can honestly say I can’t thank my partner enough for encouraging me to quit my 9-5, to not be scared of taking a risks and be fearless in all I do. There has been so many people who have been a part of this dream and they all played a different part. She’s the one who continues to inspire me in all I do. When I started becoming vegan it was because of my mom being diagnosed with two types of cancer. After seeing what veganism did for her, I realized that I wanted others to see how eating less animal products could change their life too.

Instagram: @Nopalinda_

Image Credits
Hannah Hernandez

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.