The Truth About Mariana Alvarado From Big Restaurant Bet

Food Network's latest culinary competition show, "Big Restaurant Bet," premieres April 5. The series comes from Geoffrey Zakarian, who puts eight contestants through challenges to find one winner in whom he will invest $250,000 to open a new restaurant with his company, Zakarian Hospitality Group. The competitors will be expected to show top-notch cooking chops and stellar business smarts in efforts to win the grand prize, says the network.

One "Big Restaurant Bet" competitor is Mariana Alvarado, who hails from Mexico City (via Three Square) and is now the Las Vegas-based founder and owner of Masazul, an organic tortilla company that produces its product from heirloom Mexican corn, lime, and water. Masazul began with Alvarado making tortillas for neighbors, and it eventually expanded to a weekly pop-up at a Las Vegas restaurant and farmers market stand in 2021, per 8 News Now. It wasn't long before Masazul was named among the best Mexican restaurants in Las Vegas — without even having a brick and mortar location.

Mariana Alvarado is the name you need to know in the tortilla business

Alvarado started her culinary journey as a child in Mexico City, where she learned traditional cooking techniques based on recipes handed down through generations before attending culinary school at Universidad del Caribe and University of Nevada Las Vegas. She moved to Las Vegas with hopes of learning more about the hospitality industry within the city's casinos, but when COVID-19 hit, she branched out and founded Masazul after seeing a need for quality corn tortillas. "I love going to the Mexican places that are all around town, but I still see that it's all about what's on top," she said on Talk About Las Vegas With Ira. "The tortilla is overlooked and is not made the traditional way, and it's not as flavorful and it's not as nutritious as what we should get."

Alvarado spoke about her time on "Big Restaurant Bet" in a More Fox5 segment posted on Masazul's Facebook page, calling it "a great experience." She has big dreams for her career after the show ends, as she shared with Talk About Las Vegas With Ira: "I see myself having the largest company of tortillas delivering throughout the nation — and hopefully with more than one restaurant location and several tortillerias."