Paying it forward.

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Successful chef to help women in her home country
By Carmen Loren
María Marte is a chef who has worked extremely hard to achieve two of the coveted Michelin Stars, and she is the only woman in Spain to hold that honor. Yet she will temporarily leave her job at the prestigious Madrid restaurant, Club Allard, to set up a catering school in her home country of the Dominican Republic – a school which gives women without resources the chance to have a better life. At the age of 24, Marte had to leave her two children in order to come to Spain in search of a better life for them and for herself. Her new life began by scrubbing floors and dishes in one of Madrid's renowned restaurants. Her life is a story of overcoming challenges through courage, hard work, sacrifice and a passion for cooking. María had to work for years cleaning the restaurant while collaborating in the kitchen to learn the techniques that make a chef worthy of Michelin stars.

This all eventually paid off as – thanks to her tenacity and talent in the kitchen – she was offered the opportunity to become the head chef of the Club Allard. But her path to recognition in the demanding and exclusive world of haute cuisine has been marked by personal sacrifices and painful absences from her family, and this has made her reflect and consider life in a different light. For this reason, and although she is at the peak of success, Maria wants to share her knowledge and experience with the women of her country – to give them the opportunity to prosper as much as she has.


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