MARCH 1, 2023 — The UTSA Libraries Special Collections is teaming up with Fonda San Miguel restaurant owner Tom Gilliland to host a memorable fundraising party to continue the work of world-renowned Mexican cuisine expert, the late Diana Kennedy.
Proceeds from the Centennial Celebration will benefit Kennedy's rare books and archives collection housed at the UTSA Libraries Special Collections. This and other UTSA special collections are a priority for the Be Bold: A Campaign for Our Future, a comprehensive, $500 million fundraising campaign to support the university’s 10-year strategic vision.
The Diana Kennedy Centennial Celebration will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 5 at Fonda San Miguel Restaurant in Austin.
A respected, world-famous authority on Mexican food, Kennedy spent most of her life traveling to every region of Mexico, meeting people, learning cooking techniques, visiting markets and studying all foods native to Mexico. She dedicated her life to preserving and promoting every aspect of Mexican cuisine and sharing her vast culinary knowledge with others. She died at her home in Mexico on July 24, 2022, at 99. She was a close friend of Gilliland and of the late Miguel Ravago, the restaurant’s co-founder and executive chef.
Kennedy hand-delivered the antiquarian books to UTSA in February 2019. She chose UTSA as the steward of her collection due to San Antonio’s strong connection to Mexico and UTSA Special Collections’ extensive Mexican cookbook collection, the nation’s largest.
This fundraiser will ensure that items from Kennedy’s priceless compendium are preserved and available for future generations of students, researchers, and chefs around the world. The event is also part of the Libraries’ larger strategy to enhance acquistions and growth of its Special Collection.
“I think it seems to be a natural bridge between Mexico and the U.S., really,” Kennedy once said of her collection finding its home in San Antonio. “San Antonio has always been a good crossing point, and I think it [my collection] would be used here.”
The collection includes her handwritten research notes, scrapbooks, menus, photographs, publicity and awards, correspondence with key culinary individuals and friends, and material documenting the development of her cookbooks.
“It’s an honor and privilege to be stewards of Diana Kennedy's 'babies,' to preserve them and to share them with the world,” said Felipe Barrera, UTSA Libraries senior director of development. “With proceeds from this event, chefs and researchers of Mexican cookery will be inspired well into the future."
Guests attending the centennial celebration will hear from close associates and friends of Kennedy. They will be treated to a special display of items from the collection.
“Many recipes at Fonda San Miguel are inspired by our dear friend Diana Kennedy. Our co-chefs Blanca Zesati and Carlos Monroy, constantly pay tribute to her by offering special menu items taken from the nine cookbooks she authored,” said Gilliland. “Yet, what many people may not know is that during her life’s travels to every region of Mexico, Diana also accumulated her own collection of 600 cookbooks, including 11 rare Mexican cookbooks dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.”
Tickets for the Kennedy event are $45 per person and can be purchased on the Fonda San Miguel website.
Join us for a culinary celebration on the lawn at UTSA’s Westside Community Center. UTSA Libraries will be collecting recipes and food memories and food trucks will be on hand selling bites inspired by UTSA's Mexican Cookbook Collection.UTSA Westside Community Center, 1310 Guadalupe St San Antonio, TX 78207
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