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

Hi Natalia, how does your business help the community?
Petit Platters goal is to bring happiness into people’s lives. Not only during these unprecedented times, but every day, whether you’re celebrating something special or just need a break. There is something about disconnecting from the world and enjoying a delicious cheeseboard with great company that just brings me so much peace and I wanted to share that with my community. I try to help by donating to non-profits both in San Diego and Mexico, such as Animal shelters, Cancer Institutes, children in need and of course to our first responders who have continued to work so hard and risk their lives every day.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
There is an art behind creating cheeseboards. Just yesterday I was scrolling through my Instagram, to the very first pictures I posted and thought, “wow, my cheeseboards weren’t very aesthetically pleasing, I finally feel like I mastered the art of making cheeseboards.” It takes a lot of work, patience and dedication. Creating a salami rose? A new baked brie recipe? A Christmas tree cheeseboard? I have learned to do all these things to keep my followers engaged and up to date on all things cheese. One of my favorite things is creating reels with step by step directions on my recipes. The company that I worked for before I started Petit Platters was temporary shut down due to covid-19, and so I was let go. With so much free time,  I had the  time to finalize the business plan, menu, logo, and everything for Petit Platters. I didn’t know how long I would be out of a job so I needed to act fast. I hate sitting at home, I needed to move and work or I was going to go crazy. Ironically, after a few months, the company asked me to go back to work but I kindly declined because it was a step down and I was loving working for myself. Petit Platters was fulfilling my heart and I was all in for it. I have learned that taking risks might not always feel right at first, but the outcome could be greatly beneficial if you continue to put in the work. No one is going to come and hand you anything on a silver platter, you have to work for it yourself, it will mean more that way anyway. Petit Platters is my baby now, and I am very happy I chose to pursue my business rather than go back to a 9-5pm job.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
San Diego is the perfect place to visit! You have beaches, perfect weather, can drive down to Mexico within minutes, or be up in the mountains in a hour. I’d first stop by at Charlies Best Bread for two matcha lattes with oat milk and croissants for breakfast. I absolutely love hikes so we’d either go to Torrey Pines or Ho Chi Minh Hike to enjoy the scenery and do some ground work. I love walking on the beach barefoot, just listening to the sound of the waves, especially if it’s a chilly day. Lunch would have to be something light like a protein bowl or salad, probably would go to Parakeet coffee in Coronado and get a raw kale salad with grilled salmon, yum! Coronado is the place to be during the day, you can do so many activities. Ride bikes from Hollands Bikes, get ice cream at Moo Time, shop at the local boutiques, walk by the Hotel Del or even treat ourselves to a facial. Of course we’d have to plan a picnic with a Petit Platter somewhere by the ocean. My favorite place to picnic is Seagrove Park in Del Mar. It’s right by the beach, has a lot of open space, and gorgeous views. Unfortunately a lot of restaurants continue to close due to the pandemic, luckily, we can still support those who remain open by ordering take-out or even sitting outside for those who offer the services. My top three favorite restaurants are Bencotto in Little Italy (order the gluten-free penne pasta with tartufo & fungi sauce), Azuki Sushi in Downtown, and Veladora at Rancho Valencia. There is a new restaurant, Nicks at One Paseo (which is a mall I spend a lot of my time at also) that I have been wanting to try! So we would probably try that place next, along with other friends. I think my best friends stay would consist of visits to the beach, long walks, eating lots of cheeseboards and trying new wines!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Where can I begin?! A book that influenced me to start my business is “Girl on Fire,” by Cara Alwill Leyba. I couldn’t put this book down, it filled my spirit with so much motivation and made me develop the mental strength to start my business. The Skinny Confidential Him and Her Podcast is another media outlet I find very resourceful! It gave me the ability to search for tools, tactics and guidance on how to start a business and care for my finances. Most importantly, I don’t believe Petit Platters would be where it is today without the help and unconditional support from my clients, friends and family. It would be a very different world if I didn’t have all the words of encouragement and support from them. I am truly grateful for each and every one of you who has helped Petit Platters grow and shape me into the business woman I am now.

Website: www.petitplatters.com

Instagram: Petitplatters

Linkedin: Laura Villarreal

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/petitplattersbynatalia

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal 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.