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Jan 12, 2011 08:29 AM

Yet Another Diana Kennedy Article

This time from the Washington Post. She is definitely opinionated, definitely prickly and definitely was ground zero for elevating awareness of Mexican food beyond tacos, burritos and combo plates

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  1. O wow, what a piece of work but we love her so -- thx for posting it DD!

    1. Happy to learn she nailed Bayless as a poseur/smarta$$. She's smart, serious, and definitely not an entertainer. Authors/scholars don't have to be cute, endearing, or amusing. Her books deliver the goods. That's enough.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Kagemusha

        When was this encounter between Kennedy and Bayless? When he was well known, or when he was doing research for his first book? The Tortilla book was published in 1975, and his Authentic Mexican in 1987. Was he really being a smarta$$, or was she just being prickly. She admits that he caught her on a bad day. He should have picked up on that, but he could have been so excited to meet this authority on Mexican cooking that missed the clues.

        1. re: paulj

          I think it was well before he was famous. And having actually met and cooked with both Rick and Diana, he is definitely not a smartass and she is not as cranky as the article makes her seem.

          And frankly, who the hell cares if she translated the titles of her recipes in The Tortilla Book?

          1. re: DiningDiva

            He might have been debating the alternatives for his own writing.

          2. re: paulj

            Read the article? Bayless is a celebrity chef/resto owner/businessman; Kennedy, like Child, is none of those and isn't obsessed with image or brand. They're from different worlds.

            1. re: Kagemusha

              K...I don't think the first meeting between RB and DK was any time recent. Rick's been traveling in Mexico for 30+ years and I'm pretty sure he met DK sometime in the late 70s or early 80s. As Paulj points out DKs Tortilla Book came out eons ago (is it still even in print) and I seriously doubt RB would be debating the merits of that book with DK in this day and age.

              Up until he won Top Chef Master's RB was just a very good cook with a couple of highly regarded restaurants, some cookbooks and a line of jarred salsas. Since then, yeah, he's dangerously close to overexposed and jumping the shark. 30 years ago, perhaps even 20 years ago, RB was very much in the same mold (serious researcher of Mexican cuisine) as DK, clearly not so much any more :-). He's definitely evolved and that may not be such a bad thing. His cooking is very personal and more in the style of what's happening in D.F. these days than the cities, towns and homes that DK inhabits.

              And don't be deceived by DK, she is ABSOLUTELY aware and concerned about her image and brand. I've had the good fortune to cook with both of them; they're both very passionate about what they do, Mexico and Mexican cuisine. They're just very different people, with very different approaches to the same subject and, not surprisingly, not bossom buddies :-).

              Don't be too hard on Rick, he really does have the Mexican cooking chops and he has worked really hard to achieve what he's achieved. He followed his bliss and found success, not all of us in this world can say the same.

              1. re: DiningDiva

                100% agree on Rick Bayless, I admire him very much, his early books were seminal and Topo is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. I admire DK too. They're not mutually exclusive. Simca apparently thought she should have been as famous as Julia too, Pete Best has a hard time with Ringo, 'twere ever thus.

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  Before winning TCM, Rick Bayless was also well known as a host of cooking shows on PBS. Of course, Diana Kennedy has also hosted TV cooking shows (I admit this was my introduction to her!), so that is hardly a mark in his relative disfavor.

                2. re: Kagemusha

                  Based on some other reading I'd say Rick's wife is the one with business skills. From the start of their restaurants, he's handled the kitchen, and while she managed the front of the house.

                  I lived in Chicago in the 80s, so my awareness of Rick's book(s) and restaurants dates from well before his current celebrity status.

            2. Diana's reply to the writer of the Washington Post piece is here - , you'll have to scroll down for it.

              I thought it was a good reply :-). The incident Kagemusha questioned happened 32 years ago

              1 Reply
              1. re: DiningDiva

                They're still from different planets and I doubt much has changed, despite Kennedy's politesse.