Hungry For Life

Book Cover

Project Information

  • Commissioned to create the images for a book about the life and transformative process of HomeGirl Cafe thru the growing, prepping and serving of food. “Hungry For Life” is a cookbook that tells the story of the Homegirls thru new and traditional recipes inspired from the cuisine of Mexico.
  • The Book is 210 pages, printed on high quality paper.
  • 100% of the proceeds go to HomeBoy Industries – Order the book from

The Team

  • Chef: Pati Zarate
  • Photography and project management: Gregory Beylerian
  • Creative director: Geri Cusenza
  • Stylist: Judith Bodart Beylerian
  • Story: Kaile Shilling
  • Food assistant: Yanet Rodriguez
  • Graphic design: Dachelle Duffy
  • Published by: Cusenza Family Foundation

cookbook promotional

Cookbook Endorsements

“I find inspiration in the young women and men of Homegirl Café who are determined to use lessons found in cooking and in the kitchen to build a better future for themselves and their community. Empowered with resources and real-world, career-building skills, these fine young chefs now present their first cookbook.

“Hungry for Life is filled with recipes inspired by childhood stories like Homegirl Audrie’s memory of counting pinto beans with her grandmother and comfort foods like Sopa de Fideo. These stories remind us all of the healing nature of good food and the power that lies in preparing and sharing it. Hungry for Life is a first platform for the resilient voices of a new cooking movement: empowered young chefs share the recipes that make them who they are and the inspirational stories behind them.”
—Thomas Keller, Chef/Owner
The French Laundry and founder Homegirl Externship Program at Bouchon Beverly Hills

“Pati Zarate’s Homegirl Café is a testament to the transformative power of real food. Through the café, scores of young women and men have engaged in meaningful and rewarding work, and have been given the best possible job training for connecting with the land and restoring a rhythm and purpose to their lives. This book is so much more than just a collection of delicious recipes—though with its creative seasonal salsas, salads, and moles, it is certainly that, too. Hungry for Life shows how lovingly prepared food can be a powerful expression of beauty, caring, history, and community.”
—Alice Waters, Chef/Owner
Chez Panisse, Berkeley and founder of the The Edible Schoolyard Project

“Hungry for Life reflects what many of us strive for when teaching in the culinary industry. Stories of young people that have a desire for a better future, the drive to change their life’s path, and a passion for good food that will strengthen their confidence, are very inspiring. That is why Homegirl Café and the work by Homeboy Industries are essential in our community.”
—Daniel Drumlake, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, WCC, ACE
Professional Chef and Culinary Educator

About The Cookbook

All proceeds go directly to Homeboy Industries.
“Hungry for Life” is a cookbook like no other. A project of one of Homeboy Industries’ social enterprises, the Homegirl Café. The cookbook’s light, colorful, healthy take on Mexican foods is grounded in family traditions, cultural roots, and personal stories. The recipes are unexpected and delicious – using apple salsa atop a carnitas taco, mangos in salsas, caramelizing hibiscus.

Founding Homegirl Chef Pati Zarate opens up a whole new side of Mexican cuisine. “Hungry for Life” is a cookbook about so much more than food. Cooking together, breaking bread, and sitting down for a meal —these are some of the most ancient and enduring ways of communion and connection with each other.

To cook for someone is to share your gift with others. At the Homegirl Café, Pati Zarate has given her heart to the girls, the trainees who learn to cook the dishes that make up the stories and memories of her life. As the young women learn to prep, slice, season, and taste, they begin to find them and add their own struggles, stories, and triumphs so when a meal is delivered-with-care tableside to those who make the trek to the Homegirl Café in downtown Los Angeles, the experience nourishes the patrons on many levels. Hungry for Life is filled with stunning photographs, enticing recipes, and compelling stories about the trainees’ experiences with and love of Father Greg Boyle, founder of Homeboy Industries. Pati Zarate and Alisha Ruiz, one of the young women who changed her life working in the Café, contribute so much to “Hungry for Life,” a cookbook to be treasured, used and shared as gifts with family and friends.

All proceeds from the sales of the Hungry for Life Cookbook go to Homeboy Industries. The proceeds support the free services and programs available to Homeboy’s trainees and community clients. Programs and services such as tattoo removal, case management, mental health and legal services, job development, solar panel certification & training, and a robust education and curriculum department. The services and programs the trainees receive are critical components for the trainees as they strive to change and transform their lives, leaving their former gang ties behind them and breaking the cycles of incarceration in their lives.