Hello there, and welcome to Diced and Spiced! Catchy, right? Any-who! My name is Destiny Oropeza (sound it out), I’m currently a 20 year old travel junkie living the small town life in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Although, born in the plains of Kansas City, cooking has inspired me from a young age, I mean, with all that BBQ how can you not want to explore new things?

I started experimenting in the kitchen at the age of 12 when I became a vegetarian, and soon realized there was more to food than Macaroni and Cheese or Hamburger Helper. I had to explore my options of my new diet if I was not wanting to die. I found a new world of breads, veggies (good ones!), fruits, and how to incorporate them all in to an easy meal. I continued my easy going pre-teen life for a few years until I decided at the age of 15 “I’m going vegan”. Yes, the dreaded “V” word. I was for sure going to die now.

I had to REALLY explore my new diet if I was going to be healthy. At this point in my life, food had become everything to me. I was obsessed. It was beautiful, delicious, fun, and gave me a creative platform to search for new, exciting things. I would make deserts to take to school and sell, and every day I would come home to whip up a meal of some sort just for the fun of it. It would end in left overs, or a nice meal for the garbage flies. Either way, I was having fun and loved every minute of it.

For one of the four years of high school, my mom moved us to Durango, Colorado. This was not pleasant for me, as I was a teenager and oh my god what about my friends. Anyway, there was a plus side. Durango High offers a nice culinary program! After long talks with my councilor I got nuzzled into the ProStart program. This was one class above the “Culinary” class that taught you basic knife, measuring, and cooking skills. After half of a semester here, the teacher thought I would be more fit in the advanced course. I could hardly keep my skinny jeans on, I was so excited.

In the almighty advanced culinary class, I discovered the school had a competitive cooking team. How did I not know this?! I tried out, and made the team with my ‘Sour Cream and Onion Chicken Breast’. Even though I was vegan, I had to learn the ways of all cooking, including meats, eggs, and dairy. I dreaded those days, and never consumed any of it, but have never been a pushy vegan and am very open minded, so generally I kept my mouth shut and learned. The team was lead by a local chef who owned a 5-star Italian restaurant, and let me tell you, he was tough.

I learned a lot throughout the year of my competitive training and got to do and experience a lot of cool things. It made me fall more in love with what I did, and met people who had the same passions. With it, I had a lot of hands on ‘start from scratch’ kinda situations. I mean, look at the pantry and whip up something kinda situations. Which I love and use to make this website today!

After high school, I got excepted into the extremely competitive Johnson & Wales University. This was a dream come true, the best chefs in the country have studied here. Although, chefs at Universities will make you taste the food you cook (makes sense), or you fail. If you have never met a vegetarian or vegan before, once you start eating meat again, you puke violently. I would’ve been sick trying to maintain my diet while attending. I figured it was best to live how I do, and explore my education on my own or in another setting.

Now-a-days, I work in the beautiful Telluride, Colorado for a praised chocolatier working with award winning chocolates that have been eaten by celebrities in the flesh. I live with my Pomeranian, Thor. Two cats, Bean and Minnie. As well as my boyfriend of 3 years, Nick.

I mentioned at the very beginning that I am a travel-junkie, and this is very much true, as I leave Colorado at least 3 times a year. On the side, I am an at-home travel agent (follow destinysdestinations on Instagram to learn more). Out of the country or across the U.S. I take my food lovin’ appetite with me. Stay tuned for my international travels, as I love to take local cooking classes and learn about different cultures/techniques! Due to this, I do not have a certain style or theme to my cooking. All my recipes will be vegan but please feel free to contact me if you have questions about substitutions.