ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. – Hipatia Lopez and her family make a lot of empanadas. They fill them with chicken, beef, pork and even Nutella.
For years they prepared the delicious stuffed pastries by pushing the sides of the dough closed with a fork. But in the midst of making 100 empanadas for the holidays a few years back, Lopez thought there had to be an easier way.
“We were all there with the regular fork pressing down. I think after 30 of them I was just complaining that my thumb was hurting me,” the Elmwood Park resident told Daily Voice.
Lopez came up with a solution: the Empanada Fork.
She describes the kitchen utensil as “basically a pastry press” that “is used to make fork like impressions on dough to seal it closed.”
It can be used for more than just empanadas. It comes in handy to create treats like calzones and apple turnovers too, she said.
Lopez, patented her invention in 2012.
The Garfield native and William Paterson University alum has worked hard to create her product, sell it online and place it in restaurant supply stores. She has pushed to get it in big box stores too, so far to no avail. And she has networked like crazy, attending many events held by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.
Lopez just got a big break. She was selected as one of five Latino entrepreneurs that will have the opportunity to launch their products on national television, as part of HSN’s Project American Dreams initiative.
About 100 applicants applied for the opportunity to sell their products on the network, formerly known as the Home Shopping Network. The pool was whittled down to 18 semi-finalists from the United States, Canada and Spain. They were invited to pitch their products to HSN executives in January, and that pool was cut to five winners.
Lopez, and her fellow inventors, will launch their products during a special edition of The Monday Night Show with Adam Freeman on March 13, 2017 at 6 p.m.
For more information on the Empanada Fork, visit its Facebook page, HERE .