News release from the Joslin Diabetes Center:
North End chef Jose Duarte did not know much about diabetes until 6 years ago when his wife Anna was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes while pregnant with their son Diego. The Taranta gourmet and his wife quickly learned all they could about the condition to ensure a healthy and safe delivery for both mother and baby.
“After being diagnosed, Anna had to be very strict with her diet,” say Duarte. “She was required to monitor her food intake and measure her sugar several times a day so that she and the baby stayed healthy throughout the pregnancy. She really took great responsibility and was meticulous about caring for the Gestational Diabetes correctly. It was the first time I think I realized the complications of living a life with diabetes.”
That same year, Duarte’s friend and fellow North End restaurateur Carla Gomes asked him to participate in her annual ‘CityFeast’ fundraiser for Joslin Diabetes Center, the world’s preeminent diabetes research and clinical care organization. He gladly became part of the event and has continued to support CityFeast every year since. In 2010, he once again volunteered his talents toward finding a cure when he joined the chefs participating in Joslin’s “A Spoonful of Ginger” culinary event, which he continues to support annually.
Chef Duarte’s generous dedication to the cause, made the decision easy when it came time for the folks at Joslin to select the honorees for the inaugural “ritmos de salud” concert benefiting Joslin’s Latino Diabetes Initiative (LDI). Duarte, along with nationally renowned Chef Lala, will be honored for their commitment to supporting Joslin Diabetes Center, the Latino Diabetes Initiative and helping to increase involvement of their colleagues in the culinary community.
“As chefs we have a social responsibility,” said Duarte, who is originally from Peru. “That’s why I am so happy to be involved with Joslin and am truly honored to be recognized at the “ritmos de salud” concert. The LDI is doing important work in research and education. I am thrilled to lend my talents to that segment of the population through Joslin and help in anyway I can!”
The renowned chef says he sees why diabetes is on the rise among Latinos, explaining that a typical Latino dinner used to consist of rice, beans, and a small portion of protein. However, with a faster paced lifestyle and less home cooking, Latinos are not eating the way they used to. He attributes the alarming increase in diabetes to processed foods, increased corn syrup and sugar consumption, as well as larger meal portions.
The “ritmos de salud” (meaning “healthy rhythms”) concert is Saturday, September 29th from 7:00– 9:00 p.m., with a VIP reception following at 9:30 p.m. at the New England Conservatory of Music’s Jordan Hall. The concert will feature music by Alexander El Cantante and Grammy-nominated Gonzalo Grau. Proceeds will benefit the LDI’s mission of enhancing the quality of life and healthy outcomes for the rising number of Latino and Latino-Americans living with diabetes, as well as supporting Joslin’s commitment to a cure.
Chef Duarte is looking forward to enjoying himself at the event saying, “What sets us Latinos apart is we like to have fun, we like to party, and dancing and music like salsa and meringue is a part of that! That’s why this concert is so fitting to support Joslin’s Latino Diabetes Initiative.”
For more information on the Joslin Diabetes Center “ritmos de salud” concert, please visit www.joslin.org/ritmos