Amalia Moreno-Damgaard is an award-winning author and chef/entrepreneur with a prior career in corporate America. Born and raised in Guatemala City, her best-selling book, Amalia’s Guatemalan Kitchen -Gourmet Cuisine with a Cultural Flair, is a personal memoir and recipe collection designed to encourage and empower people to explore new foods and cook more fresh meals at home for health and wellness.
Her passion for Latin culture and cuisine rose from her childhood in Guatemala, where her close-knit relationship with her maternal grandmother taught her simple and healthy artisan cooking using local organic ingredients. She was also determined to bridge the knowledge gap of Latin American culture in the United States. At the core, Amalia’s style is fresh, practical, healthy, and proudly Latin American, blending pre-Columbian and classic French techniques with her Guatemalan-Spanish roots.
Amalia provides a distinctive approach to Latin culture and cuisine. She adopted her own unique style, fusing Latin flavors with a variety of the influences she received throughout her life, from the most rustic to the refined, and continues to create and develop new fresh and modern concepts. She leads culinary groups that travel from the United States to Guatemala. She has visited more than 70 countries around the world and recently has been traveling the Central American region doing research for her second book.
Amalia runs two businesses. She is founder of Amalia, LLC, a nationally certified woman-owned business enterprise and consultancy firm specializing in Latin and Spanish gourmet cuisine and culture. Amalia, LLC’s mission is to create awareness and help individuals and corporations develop a broader understanding and appreciation of cultural nuances through consulting, bilingual speaking and writing, and healthy culinary experiences. Also, she is founder and president of Women Entrepreneurs of Minnesota, a 501(c) 6 nonprofit (established in 2007) that fosters women entrepreneurship through mentoring and leadership education.
Amalia has worked as a spokesperson, consultant, and healthy experiences speaker/chef-educator with General Mills, Crystal Farms (Michael Foods), Supervalu, Land O’Lakes, Target, Best Buy, Ecolab, Prudential Financial, Cargill, Medtronic, Boston Scientific, 3M, and Macy’s Culinary Council plus many more companies, nonprofits, universities, and professional organizations in the Twin Cities since her company’s inception in 2005.
Her community-driven work includes mentoring other women, empowering young Latinos to start their own businesses, as well as philanthropy and board service. Amalia has had an economic impact of hundreds of thousands of dollars through fundraising, charitable contributions, plus her donations of time and talent. She currently serves on the boards of the American Diabetes Association-Minnesota, Depart Smart, and Common Hope, and writes for “Minnesota Business Magazine,” “Revue Magazine” and “El Minnesota de Hoy,” “Volaris Inflight Magazine,” and is a regular contributor on local TV and radio, especially at KSTP’s Twin Cities Live, and WCCO, MPR and KFAI radio. She partnered with the Super Bowl LII Host Committee and Newman’s Own Foundation to teach children ages 8-14 about healthy snacking. She has participated as a judge during Super Snack Challenge and will join the Kids Tailgate Party when the winners are revealed.
In recognition of her work, Amalia has received 9 first-prize literary awards globally for her first book, the Latino American Today Hispanic Heritage Award for community leadership, the Depart Smart Champion Award for board service excellence, an ACG MN Bold Awards nomination, and was named a finalist at both NSA-MN Speaker Program Strides and TeamWomenMN WaveMaker Awards for community impact. Amalia is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and the National Speakers Association Minnesota with a Masters in International Business from St. Louis University.
Amalia lives in the Twin Cities with her husband Kenn (whose Danish origins add another cultural dimension to Amalia’s business) and their son Jens.
Fish, to taste right, must swim three times: in water, in butter and in wine (Polish Proverb)