Zarela Martinez is a restaurateur and cookbook author born in the Mexican border town of Agua Prieta. While taking a cooking class in New Orleans, Martinez captured the attention of Paul Prudhomme, who served as her mentor. Martinez opened her own restaurant, Zarela, in New York City in 1997. Her first cookbook, Food from My Heart was nominated for best international book of the year by The James Beard Foundation. Two more books followed, The Food and Life of Oaxaca, and Zarela’s Veracruz, which was also the companion book to the 13-part PBS series Zarela! La Cocina Veracruzana.