San Diego is known for being one of the finest cities in American thanks to its beautiful beaches, great weather, and delicious food. Tourists can't get enough and locals never want to leave. One 20-year local has definitely made her mark on the city of San Diego since her move here in the 90s. Maria Desiderata Montana--an esteemed San Diego food critic--has been making her mark on San Diego's food scene for about 10 years now. Her most recent breadcrumb to be laid on her trail of critiquing is her newest book "San Diego Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from America's Finest City".
Publishing a handful of other cookbooks and food guides in the past, Maria has managed to share her educated opinion on food with San Diego visitors and locals alike. In a recent interview when asked why she started writing she simply said, "I've always been a writer [and] after being published in various newspapers and magazines, I figured I like to cook and I like to write, why not start my own blog?" In 2009 Maria started her blog San Diego Food Finds and became a freelance food critic.
However, before publishing her blog, she published her first book of many to come. "The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Cookbook" was published in 2008 when she was asked to write it due to her background in writing and experience as a home cook. From then she went on to edit "Frying Pans: Two Chefs One World" in 2009, and write "Food Lovers' Guide to San Diego" in 2012, and of course, her most recent cookbook just this month. Before Maria started writing cookbooks, she was a published--and awarded--writer for San Diego magazines including Fine Magazine, Dining Out Magazine, as well as the Union Tribune to name a few. Her awards include 1st and 2nd place for multiple San Diego Press Club's Excellence in Journalism awards.
As far as Maria's new book goes, she and the local chefs were very excited about the unveiling. In her interview she says she was contacted yet again by Globe Pequot Press to write a second book (the first being the Food Lover's Guide). "It was just a natural fit based on my experience as a home cook, a food writer, and my close connections to the local chefs," says Maria. The book is a compilation of San Diego chefs' favorite dishes, with everything from appetizers to desserts, and everything in between. "Each chef brings their varied backgrounds and experiences to the plate, utilizing several different flavors and techniques which are melded into a phenomenal dish."
As a kid you could always find Maria in the kitchen with her mother--an Italian immigrant--cooking up a storm, while her father--also an immigrant--picked fresh food and herbs from his garden. "Cooking became a passion, and I am completely at home in the kitchen", she says. Because of this, her profession is nothing short of natural. Now, you can find her "[exploring] every corner of San Diego County, but you will most typically find [her] in a coffee shop sipping on a cappuccino, devouring a croissant and working on [her] laptop" as she writes away! And when she's not there, you can find her with her husband and two children, and their family cat: Leo (all of whom she dedicated her books to.)
And to all the aspiring chefs and writers, she says to "follow your dreams and write about what you are passionate"!