About the Author
Maria Baez Kijac was born in Quito Ecuador and moved to the United States in her early twenties. She is a food writer, historian, and a former culinary teacher. She is the author of Cooking with a Latin Beat (1987), The Art of Cooking with Quinoa (1991), The South American Table (2003) and Cooking with Ancient Grains (2014). In 2003, the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards named The South American Table best Latin American cookbook in the world in 2003 and in 2015 chose it as Best of the Best for their celebration of 20-year history of the awards. In addition, in 2012, The South American Table was named one of 100 best cookbooks published in the last 25 years by Cooking Light Magazine. Maria is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Dumas Pére School of French Cooking in Glenview, Illinois. She has done research and studied cooking in Spain. Portugal, and many Latin American countries. Maria was a member of the jury for the Slow Foods Awards for the Defense of Bio Diversity and worked as kitchen director for the PBS series American Family Kitchen and as a Latin American culinary teacher at Kendall College. She is a long time member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Culinary Historians of Chicago. Maria was also was a member of the Food Futurists (who predict trends in food) for the Food Channel's Trend Wire newsletter and has written articles for Cooking Light and Family Fun magazines. Maria Lives in Vernon Hills, Illinois.
WHY I LIKE TEACHING?
The years I spent teaching a variety of cooking classes made me realize that my students, coming from all walks of life, were a microcosm of the public at large. Their collective tastes, likes and dislikes reflected not only the culinary patterns of today but also served as harbingers of emerging trends. It was clear to me that the appreciation of good food was one of the bonds that people of the world had in common. They all share the same basic desire for good, wholesome food, the food that is easy to prepare at home, with fresh ingredients and that can be proudly shared with company. I could not think of any other cuisine that, on the whole, fulfilled those needs better than that of Latin America, and sharing my passion with young chefs at Kendall College was truly rewarding.
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