A Brooklyn, New York native born to mainland Puerto Rican parents, Daisy Maria Martinez lived at her grandmother’s house until she was almost five years old. Between her grandmother, Valentina, and her mother, Conchita, Daisy learned that the kitchen is the happiest room in the household, filled with love, family, and delicious food. With an extended family of relatives from Central America, Spain, and other parts of the Spanish-speaking world, Daisy grew up appreciating the diversity of Latin cuisine. After marrying, Daisy dedicated herself to raising her family, for whom she often hosted festive and gatherings featuring delicious food – a tradition that she happily continues to this day.
As a surprise birthday gift, Daisy’s husband sent her to cooking school – a dream that Daisy had always wanted to pursue. In 1998 she matriculated at the French Culinary Institute, where she won first prize for her final project, The Passionate Palate. Shortly after graduation, Daisy worked as a prep-kitchen chef on the set of PBS’ Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen, a private chef in New York City, and as the owner of a small catering business, also called The Passionate Palate.
In 2005 Daisy launched her new career with Daisy Cooks! on PBS, and her cookbook, Daisy Cooks! Latin Flavors that Will Rock Your World, which was an IACP nominee, and American Category Finalist, as well as winner of the Best Latino Cuisine Cookbook in the World by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.
As Daisy’s star ascended she met the iconic Rachael Ray at an event. This chance meeting lead to Ray’s production company producing Viva Daisy!, which debuted on the Food Network in January 2009. Daisy’s show continued her focus on celebrating life and family through food, while demonstrating her knowledge of the broad spectrum of Latin cuisine. In addition to her new TV show, Daisy also has contributed as columnist for Every Day with Rachel Ray, Ser Padres and Selecciones magazines. Intensely proud of her Puerto Rican heritage, Daisy is very active in the Latino community and with many philanthropic endeavors. To date, just a few of her honors and activities include: Latinas Unidas in Rochester,NY, and The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families; and mistress of ceremonies for The American Cancer Society Gala/Brooklyn Chapter; appearing at numerous career days at schools all over New York City,and most recently was named by the Brooklyn Kings County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as the 2009 Latina Chef of the Year.
2017 marks Daisy’s sixth year as a Dining Out For Life spokesperson.
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