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Chef at Waterloo restaurant battles sudden illness: Family, friends step in to support as GoFundMe raises money for medical bills

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The force behind a local latin restaurant in Waterloo is battling a sudden illness that friends say is threatening the very business for which she’s known.


Ethaina “Chef E” Torres, owner of Margarita’s Latin Soul Food Restaurant in Waterloo Premium Outlets Mall, is fighting a rare and critical autoimmune disease.

The sudden illness led to an unexpected three-week hospitalization, leaving the restaurateur on extended medical leave. The severity of her condition means that even a minor accident could potentially be fatal.


In Chef E’s absence, her family and friends are working to keep her business afloat, while also coping with unforeseen medical expenses not covered by insurance.

Raul Fuentes, a local business owner and Pastor, alongside his wife, have been providing substantial support during this challenging time.

To assist with the mounting costs, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the medical and restaurant maintenance expenses.

The fundraising page describes Chef E as “the heart and soul” of the restaurant and emphasizes that donations of any amount would help alleviate the financial burdens. Despite her ongoing recovery process at home, which requires extensive medical care, Torres remains hopeful, fueled by the community’s prayers and support.