Culture

This Blind Latina Didn’t Just Become a Chef, She Also Opened Her Own Restaurant in Chicago

Laura Martinez is not your typical chef. She is blind.

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Credit: Laura Martinez / Facebook

When Martinez was a baby, doctors discovered cancer in eye. It led to vision loss, and, eventually, the removal of one eye. She was only a year old.

During college, she began to miss her mother’s homemade meals. So she began to explore cooking.

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Credit: Araceli R. / Yelp

The university cafeteria’s bland food had no appeal to Martinez. She then started to use her sense of smell and taste to explore foods and create her own dishes. She soon abandoned her degree in psychology and moved to Chicago to attend the Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

How does Martinez deal with using knives? She says she has plenty of experience.

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Photo Credit: Laura Martinez / Facebook

“I always loved knives. In fact, when I was a child, they were my favorite toy,” Martinez told NPR.

In 2010, Martinez was hired by a renowned Chicago chef, Charlie Trotter.

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Credit: Laura Martinez / Facebook

Soon after graduation, Martinez secured a job with Chef Charlie Trotter. His restaurant, Charlie Trotter’s, was a mainstay in Chicago in the ’80s and ’90s. In 2013, Trotter died of a stroke.  Martinez had no job leads after Trotter’s death.

Martinez spent the next two years working on a new goal: opening her own restaurant.

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Credit: Laura Martinez / Facebook

With the help of her husband, Maurilio Ortega, and her mother, Josephina, Martinez worked tirelessly to achieve her dream.

READ: These Latin American Dishes Aren’t as “Latino” as You Thought

Earlier this year, her dream came true. She opened La Diosa restaurant in Chicago.

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Credit: La Diosa / Facebook

Martinez hosted a soft opening in January inviting media, friends and family. La Diosa is Spanish for “Goddess.”

Martinez got to showcase her culinary skills.

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Credit: Laura Martinez / Facebook

Despite not having sight, Martinez’s dishes are beautifully crafted. Martinez is building her brand on a fusion of Mexican and French cuisine.

She’s even created her own signature dish.

Tartizza
Credit: La Diosa / Facebook

Looks like a pizza, right? Almost.

“I call it tartizza because it’s kind of between a tart and pizza, but the dough is delicate and light, but flaky at the same time,” Martinez told NPR.

Martinez’s story has become a beacon of hope for the blind community.

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Credit: Laura Martinez / Facebook

“I don’t think there’s another blind restaurateur who’s opened their own restaurant in the country. I think it’s a feather in the cap of Illinois and Chicago to have her,” her adviser Andrew Fogaty told DNAInfo.

READ: What Would Mama Cook? How to Prepare Classic Latino Dishes

Martinez has used her story to encourage youths to follow their dreams.

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Credit: Laura Martinez / Facebook

Martinez has spoken for The Maryland School for the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind, and numerous small engagements for other blind organizations around the country.

But, Martinez wants diners to remember one thing: her cooking.

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Credit: La Diosa / Facebook

Martinez may be the first blind chef to open a restaurant in the US, but she wants people to remember her food.

“Now that I’m known for being the blind chef, I want people to look beyond that,” Martinez told NPR. ? ?

Are you inspired by Laura Martinez’s story? Don’t forget to share on Facebook and Twitter. 

The Chicago Baby Ripped From His Mother’s Womb Has Lost His Battle To Survive And This Heartbreaking Story Just Hit Rock Bottom

Things That Matter

The Chicago Baby Ripped From His Mother’s Womb Has Lost His Battle To Survive And This Heartbreaking Story Just Hit Rock Bottom

So many were rooting for little Yovanny and his father, Yovani Lopez.

The infant, whose life started with tragedy, drew national attention after news of his mother’s horrific death made headlines. Yovanny and his mother became victims of fetal-abduction in early April of this year when his mother was lured to a house to collect free baby clothes and was ultimately strangled to death. Still, images of the father and son, with papa holding little Yovanny in his arms as the baby opened his eyes for the very first time gave those following their story hope.

Unfortunately. this heartbreaking situation has become even more tragic as it’s confirmed that the little boy has lost his fight to survive.

The devastating update comes nearly two months after his mother was found murdered.

The two-month-old infant who was cut from the womb of his mother, murder victim Marlen Ochoa-Lopez in Chicago, has died.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of baby Yovanny Jadiel Lopez,” family spokeswoman Julie Contreras said in a statement published by NBC Chicago. “He passed away this morning Friday, June 14, 2019, from his severe brain injury.” 

The baby boy’s father, Yovani, had been praying for his recovery and was hopeful that he would survive.

Credit: YovaniLopez / Facebook

Despite weeks of promising false starts, like when the baby opened his eyes, he never regained full brain function and was pronounced dead in the hospital on Friday.

The boy’s death is a devastating blow to a family who has already lost so much.

Credit: @nypost / Twitter

Yovanny is survived by his father Yovani, who was Marlen’s husband. The little boy will be laid to rest at a private funeral at a later date. The boy had been on life support since being brought to Advocate Christ Medical Center by his mother’s alleged killer in April.

The boy’s mother was brutally murdered after chatting with her alleged murder about free baby clothes.

Credit: @HijadeMiMadre3 / Twitter

Yovanny’s mother Marlen, 19, was brutally strangled before her stomach was cut open and Yovanny was snatched from her womb.

Marlen’s alleged killer Clarisa Figueroa, 46, is then said to have gone to the hospital with the baby and passed it off as her own, after dumping Marlen in a trash can around the side of her house.

Figueroa, whose adult son died in 2017, reportedly tricked Marlen into coming to her house after offering her free clothes for her unborn baby on a local Facebook forum.

After snatching the baby and going to the hospital, she even set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for ‘her’ infant’s hospital care, it is alleged.

The baby’s death comes just days after police announced murder charges against Clarisa and Desiree Figueroa.

Credit: @13abc / Twitter

Figueroa and daughter Desiree, 24, were formally charged with Marlen’s first-degree murder earlier this week.

Police have yet to say whether they will now face further charges over baby Yovanny’s death.

Clarisa Figueroa’s boyfriend Piotr Bobak is charged with concealing Marlen’s murder. The teen’s body was not found for three weeks after she disappeared. Hospital staff faced questions about why they did not alert police over Figueroa’s admission, with medics saying there were no signs she had given birth to Yovanny.

Reactions on Twitter have been filled with shock, heartbreak, and anger.

Credit: @people / Twitter

Many pointed out how they had been glued to the news of this case since it first broke. And the death of the little boy was the last thing they had expected.

Many had the father in their thoughts and prayers.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Other’s sent all their sympathy, prayers, and thoughts to the father, who has lost his entire world. First, his wife was brutally murdered and now his son passes away in his arms after months battling for his life. Truly heartbreaking.

While others could only find comfort knowing that perhaps the baby and his mama are finally together.

Credit: @people / Twitter

This is a heartbreaking story that touched the hearts of people everywhere.

All of us are sending our thoughts to little Yovanny’s surviving family so that they have the strength to power through this tragedy.

These Body Positive Latina Instagrammers Will Give Your Feed All Of The Love And Light You Need

Entertainment

These Body Positive Latina Instagrammers Will Give Your Feed All Of The Love And Light You Need

@thebigbad.co / Instagram

Social media can be a Gemini-like platform like no other. While all at once managing to tear us down, its the same platform that can lift us up and teach us how to love ourselves.

Still, one of the worst offenses social media has created has been perpetuating a false idea that all women look, or rather should look one way. But this is an idea that most of us know can’t be farther from the truth: each individual’s body is different, and our curves are shaped by genetics, habits, life experience and the inevitable passing of time. And all of are beautiful. There is nothing more empowering than a woman that knows who she is, who wears her wrinkles as a trophy and a sign of a life well lived.

Yet, we know, there is this expectation that we all should look like 20-something supermodels. But like America Ferrara discovered in one of her early roles, real women have curves! Yes, small, big, uneven curves. Luckily, along with the judgmental influencers who populate Instagram and other platforms, there is an increasing number of women who have joined the body positivity movement. Body positivity is loving oneself as the first and most important step towards acceptance and change. Body positivity doesn’t mean that you have to be complacent if you have health issues or you could improve your daily habits: it is about acknowledging who you are, knowing your body and therefore knowing what it needs. It is also about being sexy in our own skin, knowing that sensuality does not derive from stupid ideas around acceptable and unacceptable body types, but around attitude.

Here are some Latina women who have embraced the body positivity philosophy and have decided to share the wisdom.

Read, reflect and smile.

This queen who silenced haters and called for bravery

Credit: Instagram. @slendertanes

Enough is enough! Basta! We have lived long enough trying, or being forced to satisfy an unreal, and frankly stupid ideal, of what the female body should look like. To them, we say: calladito te ves más bonito. In short: shut up and don’t project your insecurities on our gorgeous curves.

This lady who showed us that our bodies can be beautiful landscapes

Credit: Instagram. @sus_y_drlecter

The caption for this amazing black and white caption is empowering and honest. “I want to steer away from what is beautiful and be myself. I am what I am without worrying about how others see me. This makes me very happy”. And we are happy with you, reina hermosa. 

This mami that teaches her kid the value of self-love

Credit: Instagram. @kikilawyer10 via @goodbyeflaca

This Panamanian queen is showing her little boy the real value of appreciating and loving one’s body. We can’t stress this enough: we have to talk to our chiquitos about what their wonderful bodies are capable of, how to take care of them and how to face the unavoidable doubts that all of them will face during their teenage years (or even before then, as some studies have shown recently).

This superstar that strikes a pose and tells the world: “I am sure you like what you are seeing”

Credit: Instagram. @camychocolate

Her gaze just hypnotizes us. This is a woman who is sure of herself, that wears her curves with pride and who faces the world con una actitud chingona

This super flexible mujer de primera

Credit: Instagram. @transforma_coach

This woman knows that every body type can get fit, and fitness not always means estar flaca como un palo. The message is clear: “Self-love is important in the process of bettering our relationship with our eating habits”. If you love yourself, you will kick ass, hermana, plain and simple.

This future mom who slays pregnancy

Credit: Instagram. @neniyah

Pregnancy is one of the most transformative life events a woman can go through, not only emotionally but also physically. This post sends us a really clear message: cellulite is nothing, especially when a life is growing inside you. Awwwww. Ternura por todos lados.

This body positivity advocate who has a message for all of us: be proud of your scars

Credit: Instagram. @thebigbad.co

If you don’t already, you should follow this body positivity advocate who takes the best photoshoots and delivers empowering messages. La moraleja de hoy: let your scars be part of you, don’t hide them, they tell the story of who you are and where you’ve been.

This muchacha who found inspiration in Dumplin’

Credit: Instagram. @flo.madera

Among their original productions, Netflix really le dio al clavo with Dumpling, a movie about body positivity in the world of beauty pageants. We love this quote from the movie, user Flo Madera made it her own. Yes, queen!

This amazing battle cry

Credit: Instagram. @nutricion_001

We love this illustration by @deditodesalchicha. It says: “No one should be at war with their own body”. Need we say more? If you have been at war with your cuerpecito, just stop, it makes no good.

This woman who celebrated her dignified muffin tops!

Credit: Instagram. @ara_mcallister

This photo tells the story of this woman, who met an old lady that told her she was very skinny when she was 7-years-old and commented on how “fat” she is now. Her F-U is well deserved.

This Dominicana who reminded us our bodies are amazing and do wonderful things

Credit: Instagram. @liztaveras_oficial

We often forget that by simply keeping us alive out bodies are already doing wonderful things. Come to think about it, our bodies are well-oiled machines that put thousands of chemical processes in motion and keep a balance that makes us who we are. That is nothing short of miraculous. “Love your body not because of how you look, but because what it is capable of doing”, is this wonderful woman’s motto.

And she serves us some more body positivity wisdom!

Credit: Instagram. @liztaveras_oficial

She says: “Do not change so you can fit fashion, make fashion fit YOU”. Easier said than done, but we promise we will try, querida.

This awesome young woman who decided to give the finger to society. Good on her!

Credit: Instagram. @dian_261

Body positivity sometimes comes with a bit of rage. After all, it is society’s unspoken rules that lead women (as well as men and non-binary individuals) to feel inadequate in their own skin. This woman’s declaration of independence is awesome: “I started feeling free when I realized that I would never fit the cookie cutter mold that society had reserved for me”. En otras palabras, everyone please mind your own business.

This woman who acknowledges that the body changes and we need to feel at home in it

Credit: Instagram. @alejandrared

Alejandra knows, like many of us, that bodily changes can be terrifying. She takes this at face value and then gives us a pearl of wisdom: bodies change because they want to protect us. We need to be grateful, love our bodies like a comforting, cozy home

And this beautiful illustration by @Pattysupercool

Credit: Instagram. @divinamujer_catalinapaz

We just want to shed a happy tear looking at this cute illustration. The motto: “You look so gorgeous since you love yourself”. And that is what body positivity is all about, amarte siempre y sin pretextos.

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