This week I talked with Chef Daisy Martinez, television personality, author and spokesperson for Dining Out For Life the HIV/AIDS fundraiser. Dining Out For Life hosted by Subaru will take place Thursday April 30th in 60 cities across North America. The event was conceived 25 years ago in Philadelphia and the concept is quite simple. As I noted in my previous post, "More than 3,000 participating restaurants donate a generous percentage of that day's proceeds to support service providers in their region to fund care, prevention, education, testing, counseling and other essential HIV/AIDS services. An estimated $4 million will be raised in just one day of dining." Last year Dining Out For Life assisted over 350,000 people, delivered over 1.8 million meals and provided housing for 8,097 clients. It also fulfilled vital health services with 5,572 patients receiving health insurance, 5,491 receiving pharmacy assistance and 1,948 were provided with dental aid.
I talked to Daisy about being a spokesperson for this fabulous event and her spin on our LGBT issues. When asked what her personal commitment is to LGBT civil rights Martinez stated:
I was a child of the seventies so I lived through losing too many friends to the AIDS scourge. In addition I have various family members that are gay that I support 120%. It's really funny because in my circles I'm know as 'The Lady of The Gay' because most of my friends are gay, I think I have one token straight friend. The LGBT community has been very supportive to the Daisy brand. They come to my classes; they buy my books; they show up for book signings. I get tons of fan mail from them. It's gotten to the point where I don't like to differentiate. I don't like to say LGBT because they're my friends and I don't make that distinction. They're my friends and that's it.
Daisy Martinez attended the French Culinary Institute in New York to study Culinary Arts where she received first prize for her final project "The Passionate Palate". Upon graduation, Daisy worked as a prep-kitchen chef on the set of PBS' Lidia's Italian American Table for her long time mentor chef and restaurateur Lidia Bastianich as well as a private chef in New York City and as the owner of a small, boutique 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 was an IACP nominee and American category finalist, as well as the winner of the Best Latino Cuisine Cookbook in the world by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. As Daisy's star ascended she met Rachael Ray at an event which led Ray's production company to produce Viva Daisy! which debuted on the Food Network in January 2009. 2015 will mark Daisy's fourth year as spokesperson for Dining Out For Life. She's joined by three other celebrity spokespeople for this fabulous fundraiser including actor Pam Grier (Foxy Brown, The L Word), designer Mondo Guerra, winner of Project Runway All-Stars and Ted Allen host of the Food Network series "Chopped".