Map Interactive local COVID-19 tracker
Contact Us
Saddle Brook-Elmwood Park Daily Voice serves Elmwood Park & Saddle Brook
Return to your home site

Menu

Saddle Brook-Elmwood Park Daily Voice serves Elmwood Park & Saddle Brook

Nearby Towns

Breaking News: Historic Guilty Plea By Oxycontin Maker Purdue Pharma: What It Means
Lifestyle

Bergen County Latina Inventor Has Important Message For Female Entrepreneurs

Hipatia Lopez of Elmwood Park, inventor of the Empanada Fork, has an important message for young entrepreneurs: Si se puede.
Hipatia Lopez of Elmwood Park, inventor of the Empanada Fork, has an important message for young entrepreneurs: Si se puede. Photo Credit: Hipatia Lopez

Hipatia Lopez of Elmwood Park has an important message for other young, Latina entrepreneurs: Si se puede.

The mom of three invented the Empanada Fork -- a tool used to seal the stuffed pastry -- but admits she had no idea what she was doing when she began her entrepreneurial journey.

She vowed to herself that once she made it through, she'd share her story to motivate other entrepreneurs. Particularly Latinas, like herself, she said.

"Si se puede!" That's Lopez's message to other aspiring entrepreneurs.

Hipatia Lopez

"Female inventors hold seven percent of U.S. patents and less than one percent are held by Latina inventors," said Lopez, a Garfield native.

"Honestly, when I found out the stats, I could not believe the numbers."

Lopez was sitting at her kitchen table at her Elmwood Park home sealing her umpteenth empanada shut before a holiday party at her house when the idea for an Empanada Fork struck her.

"I am going to invent a utensil to help me do this," said Lopez, who is Ecuadorian.

At the time, it was just a joke. But Lopez couldn't seem to shake the idea of an empanada sealer.

"I believe that most women are problem-solvers in a household, but sometimes we do not take the time to really go after the unthinkable," she said. "We let fear and doubt get in the way."

Getting started was difficult for Lopez. She didn't have a clue of what any of it would entail.

"I am not an engineer and can not draw," she said. "I did my best to sketch the utensil and found an architect that finally helped me bring it to life on paper."

She reached out to a patent lawyer, and finally, things started taking shape.

The name and the concept came naturally. Eventually, so did the product: A kitchen utensil that seals an empanada lickety-split, shaving off hours from the assembly process.

Using it is simple: Place the Empanada Fork over the pastry and push down on the handle. Then, place your hingers on the metal crescent, pushing down again for a neater seal. Flip the empanada over and do it again.

Empanada Forks retail for between $30 and $70.

Press empanadas shut in seconds with the Empanada Fork.

Hipatia Lopez

The Empanada Forks can stamp labels into the pastries.

Hipatia Lopez

Lopez recently rolled out "Pastry Filling Stampers," which are similar to Empanada Forks, but can be used on almost any baked good.

Lopez says her invention has helped her find her passion.

"I want to make sure young girls know that you can invent while you pursue your goals in life," she said, "and leave your name marked in history."

Follow Empanada Fork on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The Empanada Fork is a kitchen utensil that seals an empanada lickety-split, shaving off hours from the assembly process.

Hipatia Lopez

to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.

Welcome to

Saddle Brook-Elmwood Park Daily Voice!

Serves Elmwood Park & Saddle Brook

Hi! You've read our articles so we know you like our reporting. To keep reading please join our mailing list.

Get important news about your town as it happens.