Deborah Madison

Author Profile

Growing up in a California walnut orchard and having a dad who grew a great garden meant that farms and food were in my sights from the start. I first put that awareness into motion at the San Francisco Zen Center where I was a student for eighteen years. While there I held a host of kitchen positions, from head cook, to guest cook to private cook for the abbott and his guests. What began as a mild interest in cooking grew to a passion that included stints at Chez Panisse and the opening of Greens restaurant, one of the early Bay Area restaurants to have a farm-driven menu. Since my years at Greens, I have been largely known as a cook, writer and cooking teacher whose specialities are seasonal, vegetarian recipes with strong emphasis on farmers markets produce and heritage fruit and vegetable varieties.

Connecting people to the food they eat, its source and its history has long been my work, and writing is one way to reveal the deeper culture of food, whether through recipes or through profiles of farmers and ranchers, producers and cooks, and even a humorous book on eaters, called What We Eat When We Eat Alone. My interests lay with issues of biodiversity, seasonal and local eating, farmers markets, and small and mid-scale farming. I am on the board of the Seed Savers Exchange, have been involved with Slow Food for over a decade, and am presently co-director of the Monte del Sol Edible Kitchen Garden in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

For the past twenty years, my home has been in New Mexico, where I live with my husband, artist Patrick McFarlin. (


Cookbooks by Deborah Madison