Raising Hope: Meet Nora Daza, The Woman Who Did It All

Photo courtesy of Isabelle Daza

Vogue Philippines celebrates International Women’s Day through “Raising Hope,” in a call for nominations of inspiring women. Nominated by Rajo Laurel, discover the story of Nora Daza, a Filipina veteran gourmet chef and restaurateur.

Photo courtesy of Isabelle Daza

Nominated by Rajo Laurel

Fashion designer Rajo Laurel gave several reasons to nominate Nora Daza. As a veteran gourmet chef and restaurateur, Daza’s career is defined by the impact she has made on Filipino cuisine. For five decades, her cookbooks have influenced Filipino home cooking. “She has literally made every Filipino family eat better because of her books,” Laurel shares.

Beyond the home, Daza forayed into the international scene by opening a restaurant in Paris, the fashion capital of the world. “In the early ‘70s, she went to Paris and opened Au Bon Vivant. A French-sounding name, but rooted in Filipino cuisine,” Laurel shares. He added that by doing so, Daza brought Filipino culture to the “fashion and food capital of the world.”

Photo courtesy of Isabelle Daza

Laurel also notes that it was during then that he witnessed Daza’s “already original style” in fashion “even more refined.” As a child, he recalls seeing Daza with the highest of hairdos, balanced by a structured boxy silhouette dress that “must have been Courrèges.” Not only did Daza adapt Parisian style to her own wardrobe, but she also brought the French savoir-faire by opening a French restaurant in Manila. This, according to Laurel, created “an incredible dialogue of style and cuisine.”

To him, Daza is a pioneer of a woman who “did it all.” “A career, a vision, and a family! This was back when the world was ruled by men and most women just aimed to be a doting housewife,” he says.

Visit everyday this month for daily features on inspiring women, as nominated by the people whose lives they’ve changed.

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