The Real Reason Marcela Valladolid Left The Kitchen

Food Network is home to several long-running programs, including The Kitchen, which has been a staple on the channel since 2014 (via IMDb). Described as a "fun food-filled hour" by BSTV, the cooking show-talk show hybrid is now in its 28th season, according to Food Network. It gives a televised space to the familiar faces of Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, and Geoffrey Zakarian, as well as newcomer Alex Guarnaschelli (via Variety), to share delicious and easy recipes and cooking tips with viewers while gabbing about anything and everything in between.

However, if you're a longtime fan of the program, or happen to catch one of its older episodes, you've likely noticed that the aforementioned list of co-hosts is missing a name: Marcela Valladolid. The 42-year-old chef was an original cast member of The Kitchen for 182 episodes, according to her lengthy departure post she shared Instagram. Amongst her thanks and goodbyes, she also pinpointed why she decided to leave the program in the first place.

Marcela Valladolid wanted to bring simple food with Mexican flavors to The Kitchen

Prior to becoming a co-host of The Kitchen, Marcela Valladolid, who was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico (via Food Network), hosted another Food Network program, Mexican Made Easy. According to Food Network, the series, which ran from 2010 to 2012 (via IMDb), gave Valladolid a platform to show how to add some unique flare to traditional Mexican cuisine, all the while keeping the dishes nutritious and simple for anyone to make.

Fast forward to 2014, when Valladolid joined the cast of The Kitchen with the same intentions. She told Food Network that one aspect of the show that she thought set it apart was that it brought together people of different backgrounds and perspectives, giving them the opportunity to show how they each used a specific ingredient or technique. The celebrity chef said that she was excited to be the Hispanic voice on the show and represent that culture while also incorporating her role as a mom into her dishes and how she made them.

Ultimately, Valladolid told Food Network that the perspective she'd be bringing to The Kitchen was "quick, easy, approachable, and Mexican to the core." She demonstrated this through a variety of simple and delicious recipes, including Mexican Chorizo Meatloaf, Chipotle Chilaquiles and Churro Cupcakes, until finally ending her run on the program in 2017.

Marcela Valladolid left The Kitchen to be closer to her family

It may seem hard to fathom why Marcela Valladolid would leave The Kitchen, especially with its success on the Food Network for so many years. However, the chef took to Instagram to give a simple reason for her decision.

In a post originally shared to her feed on October 5, 2017, Valladolid noted that she was a "West Coast gurl with a West Coast family" and that "it's time for me to be here and share with you the stories and recipes that I truly share with my family and friends." Being based in California, per Food Network, Valladolid's frequent travels to Montclair, New Jersey, which is where blogger Sweetnicks shared that The Kitchen is filmed, were undoubtedly tiring. Valladolid is also a mother of three children, two of whom she had during her time on the show, which likely made it even harder to be away so much (via People).

Valladolid did not appear to leave The Kitchen on a bad note either. Continuing her Instagram post, she wrote that she felt "great pride to be the Latina face on one of the most popular shows on the @foodnetwork," and even felt like she was "cheating life" because she was getting a paycheck for such a fun job.

What Marcela Valladolid has been doing since leaving The Kitchen

Marcela Valladolid currently lives in California with her fiancé, film producer Philip Button, and her three children, Fausto, David, and Anna (via Distractify). Though she does not currently host any programs on Food Network, Distractify notes that she was a judge on the channel's baking competition series Best Baker In America in 2018 and 2019. According to her IMDb page, Valladolid has made numerous guest appearances on Hallmark Channel's Home & Family, as well as Good Morning America, and has also had two stints as a guest judge on Beat Bobby Flay.

More recently, Valladolid partnered up with her sister, Carina Luz Valladolid, for the virtual Marcela & Carina Show, which was described on Instagram as having everything from cooking and singing to dancing and crying. The chef also appeared as a guest on season two of singer and actress Selena Gomez's HBO Max show Selena + Chef. According to a post on her Instagram page, Valladolid walked the pop star (via a Zoom-like platform) through making a traditional dish from the Mexican heritage they both share — mole.