Daniela Baena Aguirre is a 24 years old born in Bogotá, Colombia Pastry Chef. She is now living in Sicily, Italy.
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Where did you grew up? Your educational and professional path in a few words?
I am a Professional Chef with a Master in Modern Pastry, and also a Health Coach, I have my own online business about Health, Cooking lessons, and lifestyle, named Mahi. I grew up in Bogotá Colombia with my family. When I was 18, I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina to start my career as a Professional Chef, after graduating I opened my own Pastry Shop, and after a few years I went to San Sebastián, Spain, to study a Master in Modern Pastry. Then I had the opportunity to be an intern in one of the best restaurants in the world, named El Celler de Can Roca, in spain, for 7 months. Then after a brief period being Pastry Chef in different restaurants I opened my own Online Business about Healthy Lifestyle and Healthy cooking, named Mahi.
Can you tell me more about your business?
I opened my own Online Business about Healthy Lifestyle and Healthy cooking, named Mahi.
I help people to know better themselves and to be their best version with my different workshops, coaching one-to-one, articles, online courses, streamings and a lot of online content.
How would you describe your field?
My professional field is very rough and very competitive. In kitchens there is a tendency to not respect the integrity of the human being, we ignore our own health, our own body, to fulfill a goal. Sometimes passion makes us forget that we are other things outside of work. My career has affected my health, my relationships, my emotions, among many other things, not to mention that we work double or triple almost all other professions, and earn the lowest wages in the market. That is why I created Mahi, because I decided to create in the real world my own version of the kitchen, of my trade, of my profession, more comprehensive, integrative and holistic.
How do you define sucess? Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entreprneur?
I personally think that success is being at peace. Having been a woman who had two relatively successful companies at age 24, I can tell you that the hard part was not running a business, but managing stress. So I believe that success is there, in finding peace and happiness on the path you choose, regardless of how much you earn or how famous you are. We trust in our youth and our apparent health and we ignore these issues, we believe that “that will not happen to me”, “maybe when I grow up” but it is not.
How would you define feminism?
I think being a feminist is understanding that we have a voice, a value, that we are no different or less than anyone. Lately I have been reflecting on how I have changed things as “simple” as my way of dressing because I have felt judged or harassed in the past by how I dressed before, and I feel that to be a feminist is to understand that we must raise our voices, and who we are inside and feel valuable enough to suppress that voice of inner judgment that is often a voice learned from outside, of old and obsolete beliefs, full of judgment.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I think I have spent a life of looking outward a lot, and finding inspiration in too many people. But right now I would say that the most inspiring thing has been trying to know who I am and what I want. That has been the hardest work, because sometimes we look at others a lot but we do not look at ourselves for an instant, and this is the most difficult but at the same time the most inspiring and gratifying. I’m still searching.
What obstacles have you faced?
In the kitchens, being a woman is not always easy. It is a very rough field at times, and very misogenic (depending on where you are). Personally, I have been judged and despised for being so young, many times, and I have lost opportunities for this reason, no matter how many studies or how much work experience I have had.
On a more pragmatic level have you been supported during your project?
I have always had the support of my family when it comes to my projects, more support would be impossible. But I don’t have it in the same way in terms of my lifestyle. In my family it is impossible to understand that I prefer certain foods and certain routines, for example, not eating meat, and this has caused me quite a few family fights.