Chef doesn’t let blindness stop her from running her own restaurant

Many chefs dream of opening their own restaurant. But Laura Martinez faced an obstacle that many people thought would make that dream impossible to fulfill: The 31-year-old chef is blind.

Laura Martinez may be the only chef in the country who is blind and running her own restaurant.
Laura Martinez may be the only chef in the country who is blind and running her own restaurant.

It took two years for Martinez to open La Diosa, her tiny restaurant in Chicago, this past January. In addition to her white chef’s jacket, Martinez wears dark sunglasses when she works. She got her break when the now late Charlie Trotter, one of Chicago’s most acclaimed chefs, watched her work, tasted her food, and offered her a job.

Martinez lost her eyesight to cancer when she was a baby. In college, she pursued a degree in psychology — she knew there were blind psychologists. But when she later decided to go to culinary school, she looked for blind chefs, and couldn’t find one.

“I said, ‘Oh, my God,’ ” Martinez recounts, “this is going to be interesting, because I like challenges.”

Listen to the full story on The Salt, a food blog from NPR.

 

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