Culinary icon Nora Daza passes away

Rogue Magazine pays tribute to the late Nora Daza (From Rogue's Facebook page)

Philippine culinary icon Nora Daza passed away in her sleep at 2:30 am today, her son Sandy Daza confirmed to Yahoo. Nora was 84.

Aside from chef, restauranteur and TV host Sandy, Nora is also survived by her daughter, Appetite magazine editor-in-chief Nina Puyat; and Bong Daza, father of TV host Isabelle Daza.

Nora Daza was best-known for her cookbook, “Let’s Cook with Nora,” which has been continuously in print for the last 44 years.

She was a pioneering name in Philippine cuisine, hosting a variety of TV cooking shows, one of which became the name of her bestselling cookbook.

Ground-breaking restaurants

Trained in French cuisine by the partners of American French cooking legend Julia Child, Nora went on to open the French restaurant Au Bon Vivant in 1965.

From 1973 to 1977, she ran the Maharlika restaurant in New York City upon the request of the Philippine government. It was named one of the top restaurants in the city at the time by critic Myra Waldo, Nora wrote in the introduction to her cookbook, “Festive Dishes.”

Nora said she was proudest of Aux Iles Philippines, a Filipino restaurant she opened in Paris in 1970, which became the toast of the town and earned her a place in the Michelin guide, the bible for food lovers.

Son Sandy said during the launch of his upcoming food adventure show “Foodprints” that the French couldn’t get enough of the food Aux Iles Philippines served. “To them it was very exotic,” he recalled.

The restaurant served fresh lumpia, kuhol Bicol, sinigang na sugpo and sans rival which Nora said the French renamed gateau Manille.


On her Facebook page, food writer and chef Nancy Reyes Lumen (herself a member of the Reyes family of Aristocrat Restaurant fame) wrote: “When a culinary icon passes away, we feel a great loss. Why ? Because someone great and loved by all who has cooked her way into our hearts and homes, who has guided our baby steps in the kitchen through her many best-selling cookbooks is permanently a part of the good table, part of our food conversations, part and flavor of our own cooking, part of our comfort food pleasures. Today we mourn the passing, rather, the heavenly trip of NORA DAZA, the iconic cook/foodie of every home, the virtual cooking guide of every newlywed, the country's culinary pride and treasure.”

Commented a friend of Nancy’s: “Good Lord, I couldnt have gone through my first year of marriage (before I could afford a cook) without that famous book of Mrs Daza. I bought it twice again many years later and let my cook use her gret recipes.May she rest in peace!”

From Chef Ramon Antonio:

From Gwenn Galvez of Anvil, publisher of Nora Daza’s cookbooks:

Rogue Magazine, meanwhile, posted  a photo of the culinary doyenne standing in front of her French resturant Au Bon Vivant.

Nora Daza’s wake will be held at Loyola Memorial Chapels on Commonwealth Avenue until Saturday, September 14. Then, her body will be transferred to Della Strada Parish along Katipunan Avenue. Cremation is scheduled on Sunday, September 15.