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​Cooking up History with Chef Dayanny: Behind the Scenes

​Cooking up History with Chef Dayanny: Behind the Scenes
September 15, 2021 352 Views No comments

Cooking up History with Chef Dayanny: Behind the Scenes

By: Cherylee Cruz

<cell phone rings>

“Hey Cherylee, it’s chef! Do you think I can use your kitchen to cook for the Smithsonian? I’ve just been asked to cook and plate some historical dishes!”

This is the call I received from Chef Dayanny De La Cruz on June 10th, 2021.

You may have been living under a rock, then allow me to introduce her:

Chef Dayayanny De La Cruz is the Executive Chef of the Miami Dolphins at the HardRock Stadium in Miami, Florida. She is the first female chef to lead the culinary program at a superbowl, SuperBowl LIV. A much-celebrated accomplishment for a female chef to lead a team for the biggest football event of the year. (Let me not forget to add that the Queen Bee herself, Beyonce, was impressed by Chef Dayanny’s talent.)

As Foodservice Strategic Development Director for FOH, I have worked with Chef Dayanny, along with the Levy and Centerplate Corporations, for several years and am elated at how our professional relationship has grown into a tremendous friendship and partnership.

So, in receiving a call like this - I knew it meant something big (as if she does anything less) and was excited to learn more as soon as possible. We met the following week to discuss details and that’s where the experience began.

It’s hard to capture all the thoughts and feelings around a historic event because everything that Chef Dayanny de la Cruz does becomes historical, but I’m going to try.

First things first, I think I speak for everyone when I say having the Smithsonian Institute reach out to you is next level. They requested Chef Dayanny as a result of having followed her career in the food and sports entertainment industry throughout the years. Not only did they want her cooking but personally sought after her recipes that organically tied their exhibit, ¡Pleibol! and Eat Well! Latino Culinary Traditions and Américas’ Game”, to explore the close connection between American baseball and Latin culinary traditions that have been infused and shaped into a sport beloved by both Americans and Latinos alike. From elotes, Baja fish tacos, to Cubanos, the Latin influence amongst the dishes being served in baseball stadiums across the country is only growing.

Next, being asked to be a part of this remarkable exhibit, was a no brainer. To me, the answer was obvious. It was the perfect opportunity for the chef and FOH® to bring to life their partnership in honor of the Smithsonian. FOH® being Miami-born and women-owned, Chef is incredibly mindful to always involve us and our products as she continues to cook up history... literally. What an honor it was to witness all the beautiful dishes she created and listen to her explanation of each one. She puts so much heart and so much of herself into each of her dishes, they are inevitably delicious. All coming together the moment I took a bite into the incredibly tasty “Platano Power” Cubano sandwich[CC1] . (My mouth is watering now just thinking about it). Recipe included (you’re welcome!).

Lastly, in addition to her delicious recipes, the vision of how each menu item was to be plated was impressive. Her knowledge of each FOH® product is simply beautiful to witness. She knows the exact FOH® vessel to use for each and every serving, elevating the visual food experience even more for all virtual attendees. Her confidence was mesmerizing and her execution was impeccable. Those of us that were lucky enough to experience this mastermind in person at FOH’® Big Eats kitchen stood as astonished and as hungry as we could ever be. Even when technical difficulties occurred, she did not skip a beat and continued to charm the audience with her “TV magic” and sheer candidness.

Ultimately, it was an incredible experience and I was honored to be a part of it.

Get her recipes here: https://bit.ly/3t0rM2v.

Check out the behind the scenes and keep your eyes peeled for the National Museum of American History’s new exhibition ¡Pleibol! In the Barrios and the Big Leagues / En los barrios y las grandes ligas. Starting Summer 2021.


Read more about the Pleibol and Eat Well!: Latino Culinary Traditions and Américas’ Game Presented in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History