Zarela is a sought-after speaker as much at home with academic or business audiences as with fellow food-lovers. She has the knack of bringing an informal, anecdotal personal touch to scrupulously researched material. Among the subjects she often speaks on are career game plans for small businesspersons, ways of targeting the U.S. Hispanic market, and of course all aspects of Mexican food and culture. In the past,, she was asked to share her knowledge of Hispanic buying patterns with a regional Wal-Mart executive meeting, given a presentation on the Mexican corn kitchen at the Museum of the American Indian, spoken about her rules for achieving success and creating a brand at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Zarela has made it her mission to prove that you can do anything despite living with Parkinson’s. She just given a talk on her approach to achieving and maintaining quality of life and success. Here is a quote by the organizer former classmate, Celeste Blot:
“You have been the most inspirational speaker we have ever had at our support group. Your positive vision is contagious, and it is essential to encourage an optimistic outlook, for Parkinson’s patients to improve their quality of life.”
Zarela is a natural born teacher and has developed a course for food professionals and very dedicated home cooks that she calls Cooking in Mexican. Despite the fact that the ingredients are readily available in most parts of the country and there is an explosion of Mexican restaurants, the true flavors of Mexican cooking cannot be found. In this course she presents ten Mexican cooking techniques or flavor principles that can yield up to 100 dishes.
Contact Zarela about public speaking
From The Museum of the American Indian re: The Corn Kitchen
As the Manger of Education and Public Programs, I wish to thank you on behalf of the National Museum of the American Indian for the wonderful presentation you led and the amazing food you served! As you may know, “Zarela’s Mexican Corn Kitchen” was the first food program we’ve hosted since 1994. As a result of its success I am certain that we will be working with you again in the near future.
Zarela, you are an expert speaker. You enlightened visitors on the history and cultural preparation of corn-based Mexican fare in a fun and engaging manner. The images you presented were exquisite and highlighted the vast diversity of corn and its uses. You have a unique ability to entertain and educate audiences. Visitors and staff alike found your program at the museum to be engaging, informative and humorous. We were impressed with the way in which you regaled the packed audience with the history of several varieties of Mexican corn, their pre-Columbian preparation and stories about how Mexican cuisine has changed through time. Most important, however, is your skill in captivating our diverse audience, which ranged from sophisticated foodies to those who know little or nothing about culinary arts. The evaluations we collected after the program say it all:
“Great lecture + food – learned new things. Very interesting and entertaining, very well organized.”
“To have Zarela was an honor”
“Zarela was a great speaker.”
“Spectacular – muy bueno”
“Fun and dynamic speaker. Beautiful slides.”
“Great (and hilarious) speaker!”
“Zarela is wonderful.”
“Zarela, we greatly appreciate your willingness and ability to work within our constrained space. As a museum, we do not have cooking facilities and yet you were able to do a cooking demonstration. What we lack in resources, you more than made up with in flexibility and presentation style.
Finally, I would be remiss in not writing something about the tasting your catered – what a sensational taste treat! The menu, like the talk, focused on various preparations of corn. You introduced to visitors and the staff to new taste experiences (i.e. huitlacoche).
As a cultural institution, it meant a great deal to us that you were able to create a program that touched on all aspects of our mission, from your deep knowledge of indigenous uses of corn to your ability to design a presentation that engaged visitors on many levels. You made converts out of staff people who did not believe that we could feature a cooking presentation at our museum; somehow, magically, you made it happen. As someone who produces and attends many programs throughout the year, I can honestly say that you are a true gem.”
Johanna Gorelick, Ph.D.