For Ana Valdemoros, food has always been a gateway to adventure. A native of Argentina, Valdemoros developed a fond attachment to the empanada, a savory hand pie that can be stuffed with all manner of tasty fillings. “Empanadas were something that I loved to make for myself and friends,” Valdemoros says. “As an international college student, my friends encouraged me to start selling empanadas.” Based on that bit of encouragement, Valdemoros founded Argentina’s Best Empanadas, a cozy little spot just off 200 East in downtown Salt Lake—which just so happens to be celebrating its first anniversary this year.
In addition to running her own business, Valdemoros co-founded the restaurant incubator Square Kitchen with Tham Soekotjo of Comfort Bowl. “Because Tham and I both have small food businesses, we know what it’s like to work after hours in overcrowded kitchens,” Valdemoros says. “Square Kitchen provides the services that businesses like ours need. We want to be a resource for all those that are thinking about starting a food business but don’t know where to start.” Valdemoros is no stranger to Craft Lake City, having previously worked with the organization to host empanada-making workshops. “Teaching workshops was such a great opportunity for me, and I am very grateful to Craft Lake City for encouraging me to do this,” she says. “I enjoy the workshops so much—we get to know each other, I get to share my background, and also learn from many attendees that have been to Argentina.”
During the Craft Lake City DIY Festival this year, those in attendance can expect to get a taste of Valdemoros’ most popular empanada flavors, such as the citrus-kissed Lemon Beef Empanada and the vegetarian-friendly Spinach Feta Empanada. Valdemoros has also teased at the possibility of bringing an as-of-yet unveiled empanada flavor to this year’s festival. Because of their clean and compact appearance, empanadas are an ideal food for festival-goers at the DIY Festival. Outside of the festival, empanada fans can visit Valdemoros at the Downtown Farmers Market each Saturday or visit the Argentina’s Best Empanadas storefront at 357 S. 200 E. –Alex Springer