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UTEP to Welcome Pioneer Chef and Author

EL PASO, Texas, March 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Renowned Mexican chef Zarela Martínez, whose successful culinary career has influenced a new generation of Mexican cuisine chefs including her son, Food Network Star Aarón Sánchez, will visit The University of Texas at El Paso to inspire students to follow their dreams.

Martínez, a popular New York restaurateur, cookbook author and food television host, will talk about her journey to bring authentic Mexican cuisine to the United States during a special appearance at UTEP at 5 p.m. Monday, March 24, in the University's Union Cinema.

Participants will enjoy a cooking demonstration and food tasting. Martínez also will sign her bestselling cookbooks, including Food from my Heart (1992), The Food and Life of Oaxaca (1997), and Zarela's Veracruz (2001).

"Zarela's experience in building her brand through cooking is a story worthy of telling," said Corey M. Bailey, director of the Student Engagement and Leadership Center at UTEP. "She is inspiring, determined and has overcome great odds to achieve success few Hispanic women have attained."

Born in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, Martínez began her culinary career as a caterer in El Paso, Texas. In 1983, Martínez moved her business to New York, where she became executive chef of Café Marimba. Four years later, Martinez opened her first restaurant, Zarela, one of New York City's first authentic Mexican restaurants.

Since the restaurant closed in 2011, Martínez has become a sought-after speaker and consultant specializing in Mexican food and culture and U.S. Hispanic market trends. Her corporate clients have included Frito-Lay, Unilever/Best Foods and Marriott.

Martínez was the host of a 13-part PBS cooking series called, ¡Zarela! La Cocina Veracruzana. In 2013, her research papers and materials were acquired by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University for the Schlesinger Library. That same year, she was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America.

As UTEP prepares to become the first national research university serving a 21st century student demographic, the University strives to enrich its students' educational experience by bringing thought-provoking speakers, guest lecturers and major events to campus. Examples include the Centennial Lecture series, The Texas Tribune's "On the Road: A Symposium on Demographic Change" and the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics 2013 Back-to-School Texas Tour.

CONTACT: Veronique Masterson, +1-915-747-7503, [email protected] or visit http://sa.utep.edu/blog/zarela-martinez-a-culinary-life.

SOURCE University of Texas at El Paso

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