About Maria

About-MariaFood has always been a passion of mine, beginning with hot summers with my Grandma baking Lebanese bread and fresh baklava, peering over her countertop, fearlessly tasting fresh, lemon-drenched raw lamb, seasoned with herbs from her fingertips.

I love using dynamic international flavors and healthy proteins and vegetables to create vibrant dishes, focusing on local, organic, and seasonal foods. Prior to my current position as the Executive Chef at the Highland City Club in Boulder, CO, I was hired as the Chef/Consultant to open Harvest Restaurant in Madrid, Spain in 2008, Anjou in Boulder in 2007, and Café Zesta in Boulder in 2008.

In 2010, after cooking professionally for over 5 years, I was diagnosed with 2 major auto-immune conditions and insulin resistance. This diagnosis was a huge turning point; it meant I had to immediately and drastically change my relationship with food.  Although I was already practicing an organic, gluten-free and dairy free diet, I knew I had to get creative to sustain a complete protein and vegetable based diet.

It didn’t take long for this new way of eating to transform not only my health but also the health of those for whom I was cooking both personally and professionally.

By removing sugars and other toxic foods from my diet and returning to protein and vegetable driven meals, I found more balance in my system: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Balance is such a challenge in our full and fast paced world, and I believe this approach to food is a powerful tool to work towards a better life.

Since 2006, I have continuously chosen organic products in my restaurants and projects which challenged me to experiment with ways to reduce food cost. Because of this experience, affordability is built into the core of recipe creation on this site and in my cookbook, Heartful Kitchen.  I also understand the importance of simplicity and time management in the kitchen. My life is full and rich with my cookbook project, my full-time position as Executive Chef at the Highland City Club and teaching Soul Sweat dance as well as my relationships with my loving partner Philip and his son Monty. Balancing these aspects of my life inspires me to create simple nutrient-dense dishes that fit my diet needs and their tastes with limited time.

We are what we eat. I am inspired to use natural food to help ground us and build our relationship with the good, sweet earth. I invite you to join me on this journey. Try these nutrient dense recipes I am sharing on the website.  I promise I will open your palate and simplify your life with these recipes, perhaps allowing you to try flavor combinations you have yet to experience. I invite you to stay connected with me as I work on completing my cookbook, Heartful Kitchen: A Cookbook for Every Body.