A Taste for Life: Cooking with Zarela - PMD Alliance

“I asked my mother once, ‘Why did you name me Zarela? Why couldn’t you give me a normal name like Gabriela or Maritza?’ And she said, ‘Because it’s going to look great in lights, honey.’” – Zarela Martinez 

Zarela Martinez is a world-renowned chef who was born in Sonora, Mexico. While she’s famous for cooking for the likes of Ronald Reagan and Queen Elizabeth II and running a ground-breaking restaurant in New York City for 23 years, she’s famous among these parts for her advocacy work sharing how to live well with Parkinson’s. Diagnosed seventeen years ago, Zarela’s recipes continue to inspire.   

She recently sat down with our friends at Acorda to film some cooking videos, which we will host a viewing of on August 11th. Zarela will also join the screening to take your questions LIVE!  

We are thrilled to host this viewing on the heels of  Inspire Me!™ Fair an online auction featuring artwork created by people who have been impacted by movement disorders. Whether creating tasty dishes or beautiful sculpture, we are deeply inspired by the creativity expressed by our friends with Parkinson’s and look forward to this unique conversation with Zarela who continues to inspire with her recipes and her zest for tasting life.  

In the meantime, you can try one of Zarela’s original recipes below.  



Zarela’s Ensalada de Piña

Spicy Pineapple Salad

from Food from My Heart: Cuisines of Mexico Remembered and Reimagined by Zarela Martinez

-1 large ripe pineapple, peeled and cored 

-1 small red onion, or half of a larger onion 

-1 or 2 green jalapeños 

-1 or 2 red jalapeños 

-juice of 1 large lime (about 2 1/2 tablespoons) 

-1/4 cup olive oil 

-1 teaspoon salt, or to taste 

-A handful of cilantro leaves 

Cut the peeled and cored pineapple lengthwise into quarters; cut each quarter crosswise into 1/4-inch slices. Cut the onion crosswise into paper-thin slices. Deseed and devein the jalapeños and cut into thin slivers. Toss the pineapple, onion, and chiles together in a salad bowl. 
Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and salt (starting with 1/2 teaspoon and adding more to taste). Pour the dressing over the pineapple mixture and toss to combine well. Serve at once, garnished with cilantro. 
Serves 4 – 6 people. 

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