Plants and produce have always been my passion.
I began my career with food in California, where I grew up, when I became the founding chef of Greens restaurant in San Francisco in l979. One of the first restaurants to make cooking from farm and garden the driving force behind its menu, Greens introduced its customers to many foods that were then new to Americans -- arugula, fingerling potatoes, herbs, colorful varieties of lettuces and other edible plants that are now a familiar part of the culinary landscape. Greens also rescued vegetarian food from its stodgy past and transformed it into food that was bright and delicious and appealing across the board. It was quite an adventure to take on!
After leaving Greens and cooking in Rome at the American Academy for a year, I returned to the Bay Area to write "The Greens Cookbook," then went on to write another 10 books on food and cooking, including "Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone," "This Can't Be Tofu," "The Savory Way" and "Seasonal Fruit Desserts from Orchard, Farm and Market." My most recent book is "Vegetable Literacy." In all of my books, (except for "What We Eat When We Eat Alone"), I have used recipes to link taste and satisfaction to local foods enjoyed in their season. Much of my writing has been involved with looking for, identifying and writing about superior regional foods and farmers markets.
For the past 20 years I have lived in New Mexico, where, upon arrival, I managed the Santa Fe Farmers Market, which became the impetus for "Local Flavors, Cooking and Eating From America's Farmers Markets" as well as countless articles on food and farming, especially in New Mexico and the West. I taught cooking all over the country for 20 years, have written for many magazines (including Gourmet, Saveur, Food and Wine, Kitchen Gardener, Fine Cooking, Orion, Organic Gardening) and have spoken at many conferences and colleges on the importance of local agriculture. I am on the boards of the Seed Savers Exchange and The Edible Kitchen Garden school project in Santa Fe.
My books have won awards from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the James Beard Society and Les Dames d'Escoffier.