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Michelin-starred Latina says place for chef is in the kitchenPhoto provided on Feb. 20, 2017 showing Dominican-born chef Maria Marte during an interview with EFE on Feb. 18, 2017. EFE/Orlando Barria

Dream, Fight, Cook: A Michelin-starred Chef with Dominican roots.

A self-taught chef, Dominican-born Maria Marte is the only Latin American woman with two Michelin stars.

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The only Latin American woman with two Michelin stars said in an interview with EFE that the place for a chef is in the restaurant.
At a time when many of her peers are spending more and more time away from the kitchen, Dominican-born Maria Marte said she believed chefs could rely more on books to acquire new knowledge and become inspired by other cultures.
"I'm always cooking. What's the point of being in the kitchen if I'm not cooking? I'm always doing something; I love to motivate my team and teach them new things," Marte, who has been head chef at El Club Allard in Madrid since 2013, said.
Marte, a self-taught chef, arrived in Spain 14 years ago and has enjoyed a meteoric rise since starting her career as a dishwasher at that same restaurant, which was first awarded a second Michelin star in 2011 under the guidance of then-head chef Diego Guerrero.
She said it was an advantage for her to hail from the Caribbean, adding that she was always incorporating flavors from her home region into her creations.
The latest product she has brought over from the Dominican Republic is the guanabana (soursop), a tropical fruit Marte is using to make juices and will also incorporate into desserts and other dishes as well.
Marte says she has had a passion for cooking for as long as she can remember.
"I come from Jarabacoa, a very inspiring city, very green, and I bring a lot of things with me from there that I'm still incorporating today," said Marte, who participated over the weekend in the 3rd edition of the Dominican Gastronomy Forum in Santo Domingo.
Oregano, garlic, coriander and mint, tastes and aromas that remind her of her childhood, are her constant companions in the kitchen, the chef said.
Marte said her cuisine was constantly evolving but that her dishes can still be traced back to her Dominican roots.
The chef, whose book "Soñar, luchar, cocinar" was published earlier this year by Espasa, said her team's goal was to continue working for a third Michelin star for El Club Allard.
She also said she planned to contribute her knowledge to a new gastronomy school in the Dominican Republic that will be inaugurated in the near future.
 
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