When Mariana Velásquez left Colombia to attend culinary school Vermont in 1999, she quickly realized that while she deeply loved cooking, it was presentation that really made her tick. And though she was well aware that food was in her blood, she discovered that its aesthetic element was another key inheritance. “I grew up in a family where the table was the center of the home. My mother has always been passionate about setting the table. Food and the ritual of dining were important,” explains Mariana. “The setting determines the moment.”
Still, Mariana spent her early career sinking her teeth into professional kitchens at famous restaurants like tPrune in NYC and at Saveur magazine. But it was when she transitioned into styling at the urging of a mentor that everything really clicked. Since making the shift, Mariana’s lush, inviting work has appeared in a few publications you might have heard of, like The New York Times and Bon Appétit, and she’s had a hand in cookbooks for star authors like Paula Wolfert and Michelle Obama.
As satisfying as it was for Mariana to create gorgeous visuals on set, she was uninspired by the workwear she put on to do it—and found herself longing for a chic apron that suited her vibe. So she made one, in crisp cotton with long ends that could double as holders for hot handles or a place to dust off floury hands under the name Limonarium. “The apron quickly became my signature, and everyone kept asking about it,” she says. “Finally, my husband suggested we start selling them!”