in my first entrepreneurial year, i was honestly fed up with pleasing other people and saying yes to everything, like i had been doing in the previous years since the inception of my platform in 2017. i've done it all, free things, low-paying things, interviews, speaking engagements, commissions, and anything else to help get more eyes on my work and gain experience. but friends, in the first year of being my own boss i decided to get pickier with what i said yes to and that meant being able to focus on my actual work and allowed time for what i really wanted to come my way. which is why 2021 turned out to be a year with some of my long-awaited dream projects to come my way. yes, folks, it's true! when you work hard and put in the time – people will be watching and when the opportunity arises they'll come your way. shoot sometimes you can even go to them and make it happen. but this year, i'm glad it's been the ladder. now let's break down some of my biggest collabs and accomplishments of 2021 ~ woohoo!
Coming at the number one spot *drum roll please* TASTY! Now, this isn't one that I had even imagined happening this year, like at all. To give you the rundown of how this dream collab came to fruition, one day I was visiting my close friend Kev and while she was on a call I decided to check my email... because a freelancer work never stops, and that's when I thought I saw an email that to me may have been spam. But in fact, was a lovely producer from Buzzfeed's Tasty reaching out to collab with La Comida de Jeremie on a recipe for their series 'At The Table' which features chefs and cooks who don't usually... well get a seat at the table. Talk about a perfect project to be a part of! I've always wanted to share my recipes with the world and show off what my mom and grandma taught me, and with this video, I was able to do just that. I'm not crying, you are!
Tofurky! When I tell you is my addiction, it's an understatement! I eat tofurky deli slices, probably every day honestly. The slices are perfect for my morning sandwiches and café, and they bring that Puerto Rican flavor I'm so familiar with. Earlier this year I did an interview with an Instagram friend and she told me to tell the universe some dream collabs I'd love to work with, and if you haven't caught on by now Tofurky was definitively my first on the list. Being able to connect with Tofurky since 2020, I was able to collaborate on a video with them and even share some of my art. Being able to highlight both of my loves, food, and art, with one of my favorite and most used brands, was a dream come true. Dream big kids!
Follow Your Heart was the second name I put out there into the world and had the pleasure of working with. Now this one came during one of my hardest months financially and I am not a crier, but that DM made me cry. It made me feel seen and also put a bit more value into my work. Vegenaise is another product I use almost daily and a brand I had wanted to work with for a while. They messaged me and we worked out a collaboration to create four illustrations for their Meatless May campaign. It helped me realize how much I love illustrating food and also helped me think outside the box. Another reminder to never stop dreaming, but also that there's so much room to grow and that certain projects can help your skills get to another level.
Fight For 15! When I tell you that I have some of the most amazing supporters, I truly do. Having thousands of people follow you and watch everything you post can be scary, but it can also be extremely rewarding. I have so many of you lovely folks that forward opportunities my way and sometimes even recommend me for some... which as a freelancer who has bills to pay, I am always grateful. I got to speak with one of my awesome followers on a project for the Fight For 15 and a rally that was taking place in Chicago against McDonald's low wages and salaries... the activist in me instantly said yes let's make it happen! This piece was something that took me a while to get together and I'm glad I took on this last-minute project because it helped show me that I can do things I think I'm incapable of.
And for our last spot, We Are Cocina. The name in itself, love! Anytime I get to talk food, my Puerto Rican-ness, and about my upbringing, I am so down for it. I was invited to answer some interview questions that were unlike others I have been asked before, which is why I think this is probably my favorite interview of 2021. This was also a campaign involving some other awesome Latinx/e peeps, like my girl Reina from The Sofrito Project, which made it even more exciting!
all in all, 2021 was a year full of many opportunities to test my limits, push myself, and grow as a creator. these are some projects i couldn't even have imagined happening back in 2017 when i started my journey of La Comida de Jeremie. but the true testament of my journey: when you keep at it, stay true to yourself, and make things that come from your heart; the right people and opportunities will come your way. don't get lost in the sauce and stay on your path, you're headed the right way. i hope that this inspires you to keep at it and stay focused on whatever endeavor you may be on. trust me when i say your hard work will pay off.
i can't wait to see what this new year will bring and to see what else i create for you all in 2022. cheers to growth, new opportunities, and much abundance to us all.
xx, j.s. <3