In the presence of a Living Legend

A couple of months ago, I received a telephone call from a woman who said that she had been referred to me by Chris Styler, my friend and collaborator on my book, Daisy Cooks! Latin Flavors That Will Rock Your World. She told me her name was Anna Nurse, and that she was involved with a program for culinary student at New York City College of Technology . I asked her to tell me a bit more about the program, and she enthusiastically shared the history of the program (who can boast such distinguished alumni as the late Chef Patrick Clark, and Chef Michael Lomonaco), and her involvement with it.

Ms. Nurse, for those of you who may not be familiar with the name, is practically one of the founding members of the James Beard Foundation, being involved since its inception with James Beard and Julia Child. As involved as she has been all these years with this organization, her “baby” is the culinary program at New York City College of Technology , and she mentors the students as if they were her own children. Ms. Nurse actively recruits successful chefs, to visit the school and perform demos that may serve to educate as well as inspire the students in this program. This sounded like something right up my alley, so I quickly agreed to pay the school a visit a do a demo for the students.

Demos have gotten to be something that I have become very comfortable with, and so I planned my menu, and set myself for the event, last Thursday, March 8th. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was to experience among these students and the incredibly dedicated staff that I encountered at New York City College of Technology .

Miguelina and I were met by Rosanna Anil, President of The Anna Nurse Club, which is responsible for bringing the chefs to the school. She escorted us to the culinary kitchens, where I was introduced to my assistants for the duration of the morning, Amanda and Vanessa, two brilliant culinary students who really knew their way around the kitchen, and Linda Dias, who runs the culinary program.

Amanda, Daisy, Linda, and Vanessa

The menu was pretty straight forward, Pollo Guisado (Braised Chicken) and Arroz con Maiz (Yellow Rice with Corn), but I was the one who was in for a couple of surprises! First, Anna came to the demo bearing gifts, in the form a giant chorizo which had been donated by her friend Anthony, from Cittero meats. We immediately put that chorizo to good use, and Vanessa diced half of it to add to our rice. As if that wasn’t enough, I find out that my dear friend, Filiberto Estevez, Executive Chef at our own Gracie Mansion, came to show support and attend my demo. It turns out the Fili is another distinguished New York City College of Technology alumn!

Daisy and the ultra-fabulous, Anna Nurse (how gorgeous is she?)

Chef Filiberto Estevez, Executive Chef at Gracie Mansion

The demo was incredibly well attended, and as soon as we had all the audio-visual technical stuff out of the way, I was pumped for a great demo. Rosanna introduced me, the audience was very receptive, and asked intelligent questions, and before very long, I felt like I was hosting this event out of my own kitchen, and it was attended by my family and friends!

The frangrance of the Braised Chicken and the tantalizing aroma of the chorizo-perfumed rice, piqued everyone’s appetite, and in record time, both dished were ready for an honest evaluation by the audience. I held my breath until Ms. Nurse smiled, and gave an avid “thumbs up!”

I was more than happy to sign books and autographs as the demo wound down, and made the great folks at New York City College of Technology promise they’d invite me back real soon.

It will be an enormous privelege to return to Ms. Nurse’s Club and share my food and my stories with such an eager, hospitable, and generous audience. Thank you, Ms. Nurse, and all my new friends at New York City College of Technology !


8 Responses to “In the presence of a Living Legend”

  1. 1 Marisol March 16, 2007 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Daisy. I was in the audience at City Tech and you were excellent. I had seen your picture/bio up in the glass case and wondered when you were going to be at our school but didn’t see a date (I bet it was there and my blind ass didn’t even notice). Anyway, the day of the event as I was headed to my marketing class I looked again and saw that it was for that day and I just had to attend. Whatever else I was doing that day had to wait. lol.

    You were great, the food was delicious, your stories were funny and you have such a warm/loving/funny personality. When you get an audience for your show can I be a part of it? lol.

    There was some lady there that took a picture of me and you together. I wonder if there is any way I could get that picture? Would you happen to know? I would love to frame it.

    I think I’m done rambling now. Thanks for showing our school some love. 🙂

  2. 2 daisy March 16, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    Hola Marisol,

    Have you looked in the photo album section of Boriqua Blog? If its not there, tell me what you were wearing, and I’ll try to see what I can do for you!

    Hasta pronto,


  3. 3 Marisol March 22, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Hey Daisy, yes I looked in the photo album. I was wearing a short brown puffy coat with a furry hood and my hair was pulled back in a ponytail. In this photo you can see me with my brown coat looking down and I’m holding a white paper and you also see the lady who took the picture of you and I. Thank you for answering.

  4. 4 J April 4, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    I was searching for the braised chicken recipes but didn’t come up with anything. Do you have a recipe on your site to this or similar? Thanks!

    I also seen you on the RRay show and loved your segment. Later that same nite when I couldn’t sleep I flipped thru the channels and found your show… for the first time. I’ll be setting my dvr now for your show. Thanks to the weather and being unable to sleep I’ve got a new show to inspire me. May you have continue success and happiness!

  5. 5 migui April 4, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    Hello J!

    Please click on the following link for the recipe requested.


  6. 6 Rosanna April 9, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    Hi Daisy,

    Its me Rosanna from the Anna Nurse Club. This blog is such a treat for me. I really feel like my career is going somewhere just by being featured on your blog. It was such a pleasure working with you and seeing Migui again. I really hope we can work togther sometime soon! Please contact me if you have any ideas.

    P.S. how funny do I look with my mouth open in that picture above! hehe

    Thank you


  7. 7 daisy April 9, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Hey Rosanna!

    Thank you very much for all your help..

    I am so looking forward to seeing you next week in Brooklyn. Migui has details coming your way!

    Until then…saludos a todos!


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