Diana Kennedy Celebrated Mexican Food. Now, Chefs and Food Writers Honor Her

ByLinda D. Mohler

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Cooks, cookbook writers, and food critics are mourning the dying of Diana Kennedy, a pioneer who shepherded the tactics and tastes of Mexican cuisine to the English-talking planet. Kennedy carefully noticed and cataloged the craft of Mexican cooking above many years of living in each individual state in the region, indexing her rigorous research in a canon of cookbooks that stay critical references for cooks throughout the world. She died on Sunday at the age of 99.

Numerous who crossed paths with Kennedy are reflecting on her enormous legacy, remembering her as sharp-witted, stubborn, and virtually biblically devoted to precision. Slicing corners was not in her vocabulary.

Chef José Andrés, a near mate and admirer of Kennedy’s, told Bon Appétit she was a “window into the soul of Mexican cooking to me and so numerous other folks.”

“To be a single of the world’s finest authorities on any subject is to be admired, but to do it so fearlessly with her unapologetic independence, nevertheless at the identical time lifting up the voices of individuals close to her and sharing her knowledge generously with anyone who sought it…that was the one particular and only Diana Kennedy!” He wrote in an email. His time spent cooking with Kennedy influenced numerous dishes at Oyamel, his Mexican cafe. “I know I be a part of many in the culinary world who will miss out on her amazing spirit.”

Contramar chef Gabriela Cámara, one more shut pal of Kennedy’s, explained to The LA Moments that People uncovered “the biodiversity and cultural variety of Mexico” a surprise. “She was the first individual to write in English about the variety of Mexican meals, so she warrants that honor.”

On Twitter critics and chefs wrote tributes to her attraction and boisterous character. New York Instances food critic Tejal Rao tweeted that she met Diana Kennedy a few several years in the past for the initial time. Kennedy was “absolutely ferocious, devastatingly funny.”

“A great raconteur, she was warm, feisty, opinionated, cantankerous at occasions, but generally witty and interesting,” tweeted activist and Television set character Padma Lakshmi.

Chef Pim Techamuanvivit remembered conference Kennedy at a “fancy Euro food items festival” in Copenhagen. “She spoke up about how preposterous all those extravagant cooks talk about sustainability when they are so wasteful with their little brunoise of greens and the plastic sous vide luggage and all the ridiculous foam of this and spit of that,” Techamuanvivit tweeted. “Cook your food items,” Kennedy recommended her.

LA Moments foodstuff columnist Ben Mims recalled Kennedy deeming him “the one particular who ruined my recipes with kosher salt,” right after he’d tailored four of her recipes for a tale in Saveur in 2012. Kennedy stated that she harvested her possess sea salt from the ocean and expressed distaste for employing kosher salt as a substitute.

“I don’t forget, for some purpose, currently being charmed by this and not offended in the slightest,” Mims wrote in an electronic mail to BA. Her words have stayed with him at any time considering the fact that. They taught him to address others’ cooking “as authentically as attainable, or else you’re lacking the total stage.”

Mims fulfilled her at a exhibiting for Practically nothing Fancy, a documentary about Kennedy, in 2019. When he reminded her of the salt debacle, she responded: “I’m nonetheless mad about that, but you seem not frightened to encounter me following that, so I respect you for it.”

“To this working day,” Mims advised BA, “it’s nevertheless the best compliment I have ever acquired.”


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