Diana Kennedy, Author Who Promoted Mexican Cuisine, Dies at 99

Diana Kennedy, a British-born journalist and author who promoted Mexican cuisine, died at her home on July 24 at the age of 99.

Cultural center Cencalli announced Kennedy’s death on social media.

“Today we bid farewell to Diana Kennedy, whose life was tirelessly dedicated to discovering, gathering, and preserving the richness of our Mexican cuisine,” Cencalli said on Facebook.

“She chose Zitácuaro, Michoacán, to build her estate, the Quinta Diana, an example of sustainability and conservation of nature and biodiversity,” Cencalli further said.

Kennedy’s longtime friend and collaborator, chef Gabriela Cámara, told the Los Angeles Times that Kennedy died of respiratory failure.

“She was the first person to write in English about the diversity of Mexican food, so she deserves that honor,” Cámara said.

Kennedy first landed in Mexico in the 1950s and it was in the early 1970s, when her husband Paul died of cancer, that she focused on documenting Mexican cuisine as a lifetime endeavor.

Kennedy’s books included “The Cuisines of Mexico” in 1972, “Mexican Regional Cooking” in 1975, “The Tortilla Book” in 1975, “Nothing Fancy: Recipes and Recollections of Soul-satisfying Food” in 1984, which was reissued in 2016, and “From My Mexican Kitchen” in 2003.

In 1982, Kennedy was decorated with Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle. Then in 2002, she was recognized as a Member of the Order of the British Empire.

In 2014, Kennedy received the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame award.


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