María is one of Dominican Republic’s most awarded chefs and the only female chef with two Michelin stars.
She was born in the town of Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, in 1978. Her interest in cooking began during childhood, where instead of playing with a toy kitchen, she cooked real dishes for her friends. After training in a local bakery and being influenced by her mother, she decided to move to Spain in 2003.
Spain is considered “the cradle of gastronomy” and since her arrival Maria got a job as a dishwasher at “El Club Allard” in Madrid. At first, this work was combined with another, as a hairdresser, which kept her away from the kitchen, but allowed her to make a living for herself and her family.
Marte took advantage of her work as a dishwasher to watch and learn from the cooks. After hearing of a vacancy in the kitchen, she asked to be given an opportunity to start prepping and cleaning for the executive head chef at the time. Her sincere desire to learn and succeed propelled her to be at the restaurant from early morning through late at night. After a few months under the supervision of head chef, she was promoted to assistant head chef in 2006 and was an instrumental part of the restaurant receiving its first Michelin star in 2007 and then its second Michelin star in 2011.
Her story of overcoming obstacles has not gone unnoticed to the press, which generally gives her very good reviews. In the newspaper El País, they write about “a Cinderella Michelin”; The magazine Diez Minutos describes her as a “fighter”; Elle writes of her “triumph of constancy”; El Correo considers her a “brave and self-made woman with a story of a story”.
With head chef departure in 2014, she feared for the future of the two Michelin stars the restaurant had acquired. In the following autumn came her reevaluation, and the inspectors considered Marte to deserve both stars. She explained that it felt “like winning two stars at once.
Today, María defines herself as a prolific and imaginative creator with lots of character and in-depth knowledge of the world’s culinary lexicon.