Adriana Sánchez-Huria is a talented photographer and the owner of Huria’s in Northern California, alongside her husband Mohaimen. The Sonoma County special event caterer and pop-up specializes in Mediterranean cuisine and NY-inspired pizza Napoletana. Learn about Adriana Sánchez-Huria…
Hometown: Miami, FL
First job: My first job was as a sales associate at Pacific Sunwear while I was in high school, 15 or 16. It was a fun job and I enjoyed being in a leadership role with many responsibilities.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in CA: Talking with family in Miami and Tripoli, hanging out with my husband at home, cooking together and going out to eat, printing photographs and making albums, working on photo/design related projects, going to the movies and going for drives along the coast.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Moving from New York City to California without knowing much about the West Coast and launching our business from scratch. There was no set template; we just finally acted on all the dreaming and talking we were doing while living in NYC. For years, I juggled multiple jobs in the art and restaurant industries as a freelance photographer, photo assistant, bartender and restaurant server, gaining skills and insights that would one day heavily influence my own business; however, it still felt like I was a part of this rat race that I wanted nothing to do with, still only just making ends meet. What I really wanted was to carve out my own company together with my husband that would support my existing family (and my family yet to come), and of course be my own boss at all times. . . and who better to collaborate with than the love of my life! We channeled our joint experiences and love for details, focusing our business on good food and good design equally, catering our own wedding to begin with followed by many more to come, and surviving opening a restaurant amidst fires, power outages, a pandemic and more. Every day we move forward and the list of goals still goes on, but making the move and establishing ourselves was the biggest step, and I am proud and thankful for every bit of the journey.
The biggest obstacle you overcame: I think one of the biggest obstacles we are still overcoming, is being far from family. When we moved, we sacrificed having close proximity to my family and relatives who are all on the East Coast, in Miami and NYC. My in-laws are all on another continent, in Libya, where it is already challenging enough to travel to for political reasons, and so the move added more strain to that already difficult distance. We knew these initial start-up years would be the hardest, and then the pandemic just added another year of separation into the mix. We powered through a year of takeout operations, trying to focus on our goals of soon starting a family and purchasing a home, but life went on hold in many ways. This was challenging. Now however, we are turning a brighter corner as we are able to focus on our special event catering again with a more flexible business model that will allow us to stay on track and imagine new ways to expand our brand and be closer to the ones we love.
Someone who inspires you and why: My mother. If you knew her, you’d know why! She is the epitome of strength and perseverance, getting things done no matter what, even in less than ideal circumstances. Like many immigrants, she moved to this country as an infant, leaving Cuba with her family in the early 60’s, and growing up in Rego Park, Queens, NY. At a very young age she lost her father and was raised primarily by my abuela and my tías, learning early on the importance of family and that no one in this life is free from hardship. She embarked on her own career path straight out of high school, teaching herself and working in accounting and finances, and beginning to raise a family of her own. She experienced her own incredible love story, but as fate would have it, she lost her husband to a heart attack while pregnant with me. As devastated as she was and without any cushion or savings to her name, she somehow managed to continue working full-time while raising three children in Miami, and she made it look seamless. She is now an esteemed financial advisor with JP Morgan, but so much more than that, she is and will always be an incredible mother and amazing woman, always putting her children’s needs before hers, and never failing to be there for us when we need her. She is always an inspiration and living proof that, as she always says, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Be original! Don’t focus on what others are doing, instead focus your energy on developing your own language because food is a language. Each of us is unique in the way our minds think, the way we create, and the most important thing is figuring out what it is that draws you in and how can you best share that with the world? This applies to cuisine and to all art forms, but you are playing in an industry where not everyone looks at food in this way. That’s OK. Just keep the spirit up, stay positive and creative and keep going!
Favorite quote: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I played steel drums as a kid, learning around the age of eight years old and playing until I was about 13.
What makes someone fabulous: Someone who never gives up or loses sight of the good things around them. Someone who always stays focused, doesn’t waste time and truly appreciates life, knowing that even with its hardships, there is ease. Someone who is unafraid and leads by example.