Megan Meza shakes up a modern slant on a classic beverage on Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars

Megan Meza. © 2023 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Michael Becker/FOX.
Megan Meza. © 2023 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: Michael Becker/FOX. /

On Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars, the food entrepreneurs are put through the paces by Gordon Ramsay. Each challenge is designed to highlight another skill which can make that person worthy of the ultimate prize. For Megan Meza, her drive and determination are ready to be put to the test. As seen with her brand Bandida, which offers Horchata Cold Brew, blending business acumen with a nod to her culture can foster success.

Recently, FoodSided spoke with Megan Meza about her experience on Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars, lessons learned, and what is next for her and her brand. During the conversation, Megan was candid with her answers. What was clear, her goal is not only to build her business but to be a role model for other aspiring Latina businesswomen.

When asked why she decided to join the FOX culinary competition, Megan shared that “it was important for me to show up for the show in general and go through this experience to set an example for other Latina business owners. Sometimes, I feel like we are our own worst enemy when it comes to taking yourself seriously. I think that this aspect is particularly important when you’re looking at women of color, those who are starting their own businesses.”

While Megan wants to succeed and grow her business, she understands that other factors come into play. Specifically, she states that Latino business are getting less that 2% of the funding. “The opportunity to get funding for the business and change that number is a big reason why it was important to participate and say yes to this opportunity.”

Megan said that Bandida is a “love letter to my own identity. I’m half Mexican and half white. Stradling both worlds is a really delicate dance. I started making horchata at home, but wanted something different, with less sugar and no dairy. Then I added cold brew coffee to it, and it felt like a light bulb going off.”

While the beverage itself is important, it is more than just the refreshment. Megan took care to ensure that every aspect of the brand was intentional. From the brand’s colors to the bottle’s style, it is about creating a total image from start to finish.

Megan wants to be clear that this product is not just targeted at the Hispanic market. It is for everyone. From the person who likes wants a different caffeinated beverage to an alternative to the traditional horchata, there is a broad customer base that can appreciate this offering. It is less about fitting the food into a finite market niche. Rather, it is showcasing the approachability to cross demographics.

While the flavor might be a nod to the classic beverage, Megan appreciates that it is important to modernize with better ingredients. She said that it was a balance of doing the research and finding solutions. Swapping traditional sugar for dates not only offered a caramel note but it addresses how the beverage falls on the glycemic index. Knowing that the Hispanic audience needs to be cognizant of sugar intake, the decision was a conscious one. Without losing the flavor, she found the way to create a balanced offering that can fit into many lifestyle choices.

Over the past year, Megan has learned to navigate the business beyond the flavorful beverage. From bottle types to unit costs, all of those aspects are part of her role. She might have created the concept; now she has to put the idea in the hands of the people.

While her own personal success is important, she feels that her company is a type of love letter to every other female entrepreneur. She said, “we use coffee breaks to break the glass ceiling.” More importantly she wants to “make business decisions from a business mission standpoint.”

As she navigated the Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars competition, it was a time to hone her business acumen and apply those skills in the moment. Regardless of the final outcome, the process was a learning experience that will benefit her and her brand long after the season is completed.

Be sure to watch Megan Meza on Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars on FOX. New episodes air Wednesday nights and can be streamed the next day on FOX.