Francisco, master chef & transplant recipient
Francisco Perez, master chef extraordinaire, trained at some of the finest schools in Europe. Raised in Malaga, Spain, he learned from top chefs in his own country before further polishing his skills at Cordon Bleu in Paris.
Francisco moved to the United States, married and raised a family all while cooking for fine restaurants. In 2001, while working in Sedona, Ariz., Francisco was diagnosed with liver cancer. Doctors were able to treat the cancer but Francisco's liver was so damaged, he needed a transplant.
After many treatments that provided little improvement, Francisco went to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center's Transplant Services. He received a liver transplant from a deceased donor in October 2001.
"It's given me back my life," Francisco says. "I feel good, normal, healthy.
Even though Francisco feels great post-transplant, he could not meet the rigorous demands of being a full-time chef. He combined his culinary skills and his entrepreneurial spirit to launch a specialty line of pesto sauces.
Chef Francisco Creations can be found at local specialty stores in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Each pesto is made from organic ingredients hand picked by the chef himself.
Francisco is careful to mix particular seasonings in a way that enhances the organs of the body. After having a transplant, Francisco realized the importance food plays in maintaining a healthy body. He now also runs 40 minutes each day. Francisco says this regime has allowed him to be free from medications which is unusual for most transplant patients.
Having a transplant has given Francisco back his life in a new and inspiring way. His passions for food and health work together so well at he can educate people about living a healthy lifestyle whether they have had a transplant or not.