96-year-old Diana Kennedy is heading back to Austin for an event at Fonda San Miguel next month
Esteemed cookbook author Diana Kennedy, widely considered the world's foremost authority on Mexican cuisine, will be in Austin for an Honoring Diana event on May 6 at Fonda San Miguel, 2330 W. North Loop Drive.
Kennedy has long had ties to Austin, thanks to decades-long friendships with Fonda owner Tom Gilliland and the late Miguel Ravago, and Gilliland and other friends, including Matt Weissler, Casey Kittrell and Soll Sussman, are hosting an event to honor Kennedy that will also raise money for the Diana Kennedy Center, a foundation centered on sustainability and preserving the rich traditions of Mexican cooking.
The event will feature mariachis, light bites, cocktails and a book signing with Kennedy, who is the subject of a recent documentary, "Nothing Fancy," which premiered at South by Southwest. The event will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., guests can buy copies of several of those books, and she'll be signing books at the end of the festivities.
Kennedy's cookbooks, several of which have been published by the University of Texas Press, chronicle more than 50 years of traveling throughout Mexico to interview home cooks and culinary professionals about the ingredients, dishes and techniques of Mexican cuisine. Kennedy and Gilliland met in 1972, when she stopped by the San Angel Inn, his newly opened restaurant in Houston. Eventually, Ravago, who co-owned the restaurant with Gilliland, traveled to study with Diana for three months, and after that, Kennedy would then visit Gilliland and Ravago during her stops in Texas.
In 2011, Kennedy won a the James Beard Award for Cookbook of the Year for "Oaxaca al Gusto," and three years later, she was inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame. The 96-year-old recently donated her cookbook collection to the University of Texas San Antonio and is transforming her home in Michoacán into the Diana Kennedy Center.