Maria Desiderata Montana
I am a nationally published and award-winning author, food and wine journalist and photographer who gained an appreciation of European cuisine from my parents who were born and raised in southern Italy. My mother taught me how to cook at an early age using fresh, organic ingredients including fava beans, tomatoes, and an assortment of fruits and vegetables from my father’s garden. I love to be in the kitchen creating new recipes for my family and friends.
My first story for the U-T San Diego was published on October 13th, 2005, about a Spicy Pickle Sandwich shop I had discovered. My stories appeared often in the ‘North County Food Finds’ section of the paper. When I decided to start my own blog in 2009, I thought it was only fitting to aptly name it San Diego Food Finds, in honor of my first story in a major newspaper.
I was discovered and commissioned by Globe Pequot Press to write the ‘Food Lovers’ Guide to San Diego’ (2013 San Diego Book Awards Finalist, Globe Pequot Press). Once again, I was asked by Globe Pequot Press to write the ‘San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City’ (2014 San Diego Book Award winner for Best Published Lifestyle Book Cooking & Home, Lyons Press).
In 2013, I was commissioned by History Press to write the book: San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond (Published October, 2o14).
I assist celebrity and high profile chefs with cookbook proposals and projects. I am the author of the ‘The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe Cookbook’ and I was a contributing editor to the award-winning cookbook ‘Flying Pans’, featuring recipes and stories from Chef Bernard Guillas and Chef Ron Oliver of The Marine Room in La Jolla.
In 2014, I teamed up with three-time James Beard Nominated Chef Carl Schroeder to write and photograph his new book: Market Restaurant + Bar Cookbook: Seasonally Inspired Cusine from Southern California. This book will be released in October 2015 by Globe Pequot Press.
In 2015, I was commissioned by Reedy Press to write the book: 100 Things To Do In San Diego Before You Die. Coming February 15th, 2016!
As a freelance journalist, I’ve regularly contributed a variety of food and entertainment stories to the U-T San Diego since 2005, including my own monthly ‘Step by Step’ recipe series which ran as the lead story on the front page of the food section in print and online. My personal recipes have also appeared in California Bountiful and Edible San Diego.
From 2011-2015, I held the position of Food and Wine Editor of FINE Magazine, a local Luxury/Lifestyle publication where I wrote monthly restaurant reviews as well as a recipe column (print and online).
I held the position of Food and Wine Editor of Ranch and Coast Magazine from 2006 to 2011. I’ve written for Dining Out Magazine where I have been published locally in their San Diego edition, and nationally in their Toronto, Canada, Fort Lauderdale, and New York City issues. I am also a regular contributor to Edible Magazine (San Diego) where my stories and personal recipes have been published.
I am extensively published in a variety of magazines and newspapers and have appeared regularly on radio, including San Diego Gourmet on signonradio.com and most recently KPBS-FM Midday Edition and KPRI FM Lick the Plate. I have also appeared nationally on radio at News Talk Florida. I have made regular appearances on local TV, including Fox 5, San Diego Living (Channel 6) and U-T TV to share my knowledge and recipes during my own cooking segments. In addition, my food photography has been featured in Sunset Magazine’s ‘reader photos of the week’ on Facebook and Twitter online.