Fierce

Las Jefas: JLo And Shakira Aren’t The Only Latinas Who Are Going To Leave A Historic Stamp At The 2020 Super Bowl, Meet Chef Dayanny

We don’t know who will face off in the 54th Super Bowl but we know who will be serving up delicious cuisine at Hard Rock Stadium the day of the big game and the big performance — a dominicana chef.

Meet Chef Dayanny de la Cruz the Centerplate Executive Chef of the Hard Rock Stadium who will be feeding guests with delicious sazón on Super Bowl Sunday. 

The woman responsible for coordinating the food experience for Super Bowl LIV is Dayanny de la Cruz. The mom of three is the executive chef of the Hard Rock Stadium. FIERCE recently spoke to Chef Dayanny about her beginnings, her connections with the world of food, breaking through the glass ceiling and what it’s like to design a menu that matches JLo and Shakira’s superstardom. 

Chef Dayanny was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and grew up in a home where everything happened around the kitchen table. It was the kind of childhood where her mother always insisted she eat before she play and she was able to run outside and pick ripe mangoes straight from surrounding trees. Chef Dayanny credits this early association with fresh foods and the warmth of a lively kitchen with her decision to enter the culinary world. 

She first went to school to get a degree in hospitality management from Universidad Central del Este in the Dominican Republic. It was here that she decided to move to the United States with her parents and pursue a career in culinary arts. After getting her degree in Grand Rapids, MI, the newbie chef accepted her first position in a kosher kitchen at the DoubleTree Hotel in Chicago — an experience that she says was one of the most difficult and rewarding of her career. 

It was during this time in Chicago that Chef Dayanny was exposed to the world of sports luxury entertainment. She quickly started building her resume with some of the most elite sports events in the US, such as the US open in New York, the Kentucky Derby and the NBA All-Stars. Chef Dayanny explained to FIERCE, the experience was a different challenge than what she was used to, but she was drawn to that difficult task.

Her experience eventually led her to Miami and the Hard Rock Stadium.

 As the executive chef, this means she would be in charge of the kitchen staff for each of these locations. Chef Dayanny also oversees the menus for each concession, kitchen and restaurant at the stadium, and ensures the quality of the food leaving the kitchen. Currently, the stadium has 7 kitchens, 167 suits, 7 all-inclusive clubs and 25 concession stands.

Among those responsibilities is a self-imposed rule that Chef Dayanny expects of her kitchens: to keep them extremely diverse. Listing Central America, South America, Africa and other countries as some of the sources of inspiration for the cuisine she serves, the chef explained to FIERCE that she not only includes her own Dominican flavors into her kitchens but she encourages the native flavors of her kitchen staff to be utilized as well. 

The road leading up to her high-profile career hasn’t been easy. Unfortunately, Chef Dayanna also experienced something many women — Latinas especially — experience coming up in her career.

Like in many industries, the culinary world is still very much a boys’ club. As such, women are given an especially difficult time when they enter the industry to gain experience. Sometimes the interactions are so traumatizing that women leave their industry completely to avoid facing more injustices. 

Chef Dayanny confirmed that as a Latina she bumped into the infamous glass ceiling several times before climbing up the ladder. However, it wasn’t her own struggle she was concerned about, but the struggle of the next generation of women. Acknowledging that we still have a ways to go in making strides in equality, Chef Dayanny explained, “If we are standing still, not moving forward, we aren’t clearing the way for the next generation.” 

As thrilled as she is about the upcoming Super Bowl, when asked how she feels knowing that she is somewhat responsible for feeding JLo and Shakira, Chef Dayanny left us with a reminder of what’s most important. 

Anyone who talks to Chef Dayanny can hear how much she loves to cook and how she adores food in general. So, to reach this point in her career where she receives this honor is obviously a big deal for her. In her interview with FIERCE, we hear in her voice how proud she is to land this role. While Chef Dayanny admitted she is excited about organizing the menus at the Super Bowl, for her, the real excitement comes when the party is over.

“My kids just want me to come home when it’s done. They’re excited for me but, to them, I’m just mom.”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7l1R8R_A-g

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Argentine Chef Narda Lepes Named Best Female Chef In Latin America

Fierce

Argentine Chef Narda Lepes Named Best Female Chef In Latin America

JUAN MABROMATA / AFP via Getty Images

Narda Lepes is a strong advocate for returning our diets to health produce. It is all about plant-based, vegetable-focused dishes and that is what led her to a coveted recognition.

Argentine chef Narda Lepes has been named the best female chef in Latin America.

Lepes was named the best female chef in Latin America by a panel of critics who create the list of the 50 best restaurants in the world each year. After a year of lockdowns, a pandemic, and governments coming to a halt, the news is a welcomed bit of good news.

“In a year where everything is so intense and so strange, and requires so much from each of us and strains us emotionally, I take this recognition as a boost for my career,” Lepes told the AFP news agency.

Lepes uses her voice and presence in the food scene to promote healthy and plant-based eating.

Lepes and Microsoft partnered to create the Comé + Plantas app to give people a chance to explore healthier eating. The app is available in the Apple Store and the Google Play store. The app is connecting users with vegetables virtually and teaching them how to make the most of their fresh produce.

Lepes is most famously known for her successful restaurant in Buenos Aires.

Narda Comedor broke into the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list last year. The restaurant focuses on the principle of eating seasonal vegetables while trying new things. This is Lepes’ own philosophy when it comes to food and life. The restaurant was opened in 2017 and has become a staple of the Buenos Aires food scene.

Lepes wants everyone to do one thing: think about the produce we eat.

Lepes wants the world to embrace a more plant-based lifestyle. In that same effort, Lepes wants us to take a moment to think about what we are eating and where it is coming from.

“I like having the opportunity to say this in a more amplified way: we have to pay attention to what we eat and rethink how we produce it,” Lepes told the AFP. “The recognition from my peers, in a situation like this, like the one we’re living in, is wonderful.”

She added: “We need to understand where it comes from, how it is grown, how it gets to us and to incorporate variety. We have to eat more vegetables.”

READ: A Mexican Chef Makes History As The First Mexican Woman To Win A Michelin Star

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

J.Lo Speaks Up About The Super Bowl Halftime Show And How She Wants Girls To Raise Their Voices

Entertainment

J.Lo Speaks Up About The Super Bowl Halftime Show And How She Wants Girls To Raise Their Voices

jlo / shakira / Instagram

The J.Lo and Shakira halftime show at Super Bowl LIV was electric, powerful, empowering, and contagious. The two Latina performers gave Super Bowl viewers and audience the show of a lifetime. Latin pride was at the forefront of this year’s halftime show and there was also a strong political message because Latinos live in terrifying times.

J.Lo and Shakira used part of their halftime show to give a voice to the voiceless in the Latino and immigrant communities.

During J.Lo’s performance, her daughter Emme started “Let’s Get Loud” and the imagery struck a nerve with some viewers. Litter in front of the stage were children in orbed cages. Many have speculated that the children are a nod at the Trump administration’s immigration policies that forced children into cages and separated families.

The mother and daughter duo then covered “Born In The USA” by Bruce Springsteen and J.Lo flashed a Puerto Rican flag.

The Puerto Rican people, who are Americans, have been let down by the current administration as they try to recover from Hurricane Maria. Now, the island is recovering from devastating earthquakes. The Trump administration has actively cut funding to Medicaid in Puerto Rico as more and more people are reliant on the assistance.

J.Lo shared a video on Instagram right before the performance and included a rallying call to all Latinas and young girls around the world.

The global pop star wanted to use her performance at Super Bowl LIV performance to give people a chance to raise their voices. In a time where children are in cages, women are losing healthcare rights, and vulnerable communities are under attack around the world, these moments matter.

The Super Bowl LIV halftime show’s message is resonating far and wide.

The image of Emme “locked” in a cage while singing “Let’s Get Loud” caught everyone’s attention. Her voice, accompanied by a choir of children behind her, gave viewers a striking visual of children in cages.

Some pointed to other elements of the performance that referenced the administration’s treatment of migrants.

Credit: @HelloOElaine / Twitter

There were so many elements of the half time show that people pointed to as reminiscent of the policies devastating migrant families. The lights behind the performers interlocked in the pattern of a chainlink fence we have all seen along the border.

Some people were very much bothered by the strong Latino representation at the Super Bowl.

Pobercitos. Who knew that strong Latinas on stage showing their brown bodies and Latin dancing would trigger them?

Some people are showing the double standard that exists among performers at the Super Bowl.

Women, especially Black and brown women, are often treated to this double standard. Somehow, dancing as a brown or Black woman is overly sexual when white men are not subjected to the same scrutiny.

To top it off, let’s not forget that the Super Bowl was in Miami, a Latino enclave and the halftime performance was representative of that culture.

Credit: @ExtraLars / Twitter

Any questions?

READ: Italian Mayors Are Showing J.Lo A Lot Of Love After She Mentioned Wanting To Move To The Country

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com