in Her Own Words
Daisy Maria Martinez was born to mainland
Puerto Rican parents in Brooklyn, New York, where she lived
at her grandmother's house until she was almost five years
old. Her extended family includes relatives from Central America,
Spain, and other parts of the Spanish-speaking world. Growing
up in the household of her abuela inspired Daisy,
even as a young girl, to the joys that could be unraveled
in the kitchen. Between her grandmother, Valentina, and her
mother, Conchita, Daisy learned firsthand how the kitchen
is—easily—the happiest room in the household.
Those days were filled with love, family, and delicious food,
three things that, for Daisy, are intimately entwined.
Before committing herself to the art of
cooking, Daisy took pleasure in other arts, including acting
and modeling. When Spain decided to compete with Italy in
the American shoe market, Daisy became the "Martinez
Valero" Girl (no relation!). After her legs and feet
tired of being photographed, on a dare, she began acting:
American commercials include Ford cars and Newport cigarettes,
and Spanish-language commercials include McDonald's and AT&T.
Daisy has also appeared in numerous movies including "Carlito's
Way" and "Scent of a Woman".
While attending Long Island University,
Daisy met and married her husband, Jerry, and dedicated herself
to raising and nurturing her family; and, of course, entertaining
played a large part in their lives.
In 1998, Daisy matriculated at the French
Culinary Institute, where she won first prize for her final
project, "The Passionate Palate". Shortly after
graduation she began working with A La Carte Communications
as a prep-kitchen chef on the Lidia's Italian-American
Kitchen television series, and during the same
period she worked for three years as a private chef in New
York City. In addition, Daisy manages a small catering business,
"The Passionate Palate," named for her cooking school
days and, more importantly, her great enthusiasm for food.
She shares her passion for food with her numerous friends
and relatives in the Hispanic community. From them, she has
learned to love and cook delicious food from across the broad
spectrum of Latin cuisine.