Here are some of the comments/testimonials received from attendees to my cooking demonstrations:
Cooking with Marta has been a way for our community to connect on a much deeper and less superficial level. We don't get together and just talk about the kids, who's moving in or out, schools, teachers etc. (all things of which we have no control over.) Instead, we connect through working with our hands and preparing food. Working together through cooking removes social, economic, language, race, and religious boundaries. ~Heidi Sekowski
Marta’s cooking shows are so fun and informative! She is a wonderful chef with a dynamic personality. Cooking with her is a learning adventure as she takes us on a journey of new cultures and religions, adding surprise and interest to the simplest dishes. Marta is a great person with a terrific heart, who is always ready to help anyone and make new friends every day in her life. ~Yashoda Bhojwani
I cannot forget her happy face when Marta and I went to the Japanese grocery store to get things for her Japanese cooking class. In the moment she was full of curiosity! As soon as she went into the store, she started grabbing Japanese products, which caught her eye, one after another.
She moved quickly from item to item, asking me questions. I couldn’t answer her fast enough! It was funny to see her because she looked like a busy bee flying from one flower to the next.
Later, while having a Japanese lunch, she asked me more questions about my culture; things like how to use chopsticks.
Marta wanted to understand more about my culture. The result was a very nice conversation. She was so happy to learn about my culture, and I was so happy to share it with her. ~Satsuki Toriyama
"I have been lucky enough to cook many meals with Marta and it has been such a wonderful and educational experience. She has an instinctual understanding of flavors and knows how to combine ingredients to make amazing dishes. From freshly baked breads, main course show stoppers, to desert and cordials, Marta can do anything, and breaks it down so it's manageable for a home cook. This is an amazing value, when most cookbooks only give you about 70 recipes, Marta shares over 400 in her cookbook. Once you try some of her wonderful recipes you will be hooked on her easy instructions and warm personality that is infused throughout her book." ~Wendy Trivedi
According to my mother, there was a time when she could not even boil water, let alone prepare a meal. I have heard the story of her first dinner party. She was expecting a party of eight and therefore, she prepared eight boxes of spaghetti! You can imagine, as I have, what the kitchen must have looked like. I imagine a scene out of “I Love Lucy”! Well, she must have figured how to cook by the time I was old enough to eat solid food because I cannot ever remember a time when something delicious was not set in front of me.
As early as I can remember, delightful aromas wafted from the kitchen and delicious flavors erupted my mouth. We ate healthy, homemade meals every night. The ingredients she added to enhance the flavors of food started out pretty basic, garlic and onions. Eventually, over time, the flavors became more complex, more exotic. I believe this was a result of my mother’s international friendships and influences, and a desire to try new things. I enjoyed the fruits of her experiences.
I look back on my life and I am thankful that as her cooking abilities were improving, she was laying a foundation for my culinary ability. Many of the meals I make today for my family are meals that I learned how to prepare simply by watching her and eating. Life gets busy, but my husband, three sons, and I enjoy mealtime together, nearly every night. Cooking is not only about the food; it is also about the beauty of the meal and the experience. It is about preparing, about eating, about conversation, about being together. It has become a legacy of healthy and flavorful eating. This cookbook is her legacy. With it, may you create a tasty legacy of your own! ~ Mollyana Ward
The secret ingredient to Marta's home cooking is Marta herself. Her cooking style touches upon all five senses: sight, smell, texture, taste and hearing her sweet Colombian accent always encouraging me to take a second helping. She never compromises in the kitchen and her cooking demonstrations are creative and colorful, even down to her shoe style. Marta's generous, welcoming and stylish personality is infused in all her recipes. ~Giselle Harquail
Marta is a very gifted culinary chef whose presentations are as beautiful as they are delicious! Her recipes have been gathered from around the world, and we are so grateful they are being shared with us in this fabulous cookbook! My very best wishes always to a friend that I will always love! ~Carol Anderson
I have never been a kitchen person. Yet, every time I have visited Marta in Chicago, I have gotten inspired to start cooking. Her enthusiasm, the ease with which she cooks, and her delicious recipes have really made an impression on me. To this day, I still treasure and cook the recipes I learned from Marta.
A few years ago, Marta came to visit me for a couple of days and we stayed at my husband's family's apartment on Miami Beach. Several of our friends heard she was coming and decided to drop by with their families to visit Marta.
There ended up being about 30 of us. With so many of us, we decided to have an impromptu dinner with Marta as the head chef. We all pitched in to help and dined on a delicious Salmon with mango sauce and of course enjoying a wonderful night among friends. Till this day that is my favorite Salmon recipe and I have cooked it many times over.
I am very excited about your book, I know it contains recipes that I will cherish and will enjoy cooking for my family for many years to come. ~Karla Zuniga
In praise of Marta’s cooking…
In Marta’s cooking classes you will find good food, good company, fun and still learn how to prepare new and interesting recipes from all over the world; the great plus is after a great demonstration of how to prepare the food, the class enjoys the splendid meal they have been thought to prepare. It’s obvious to everyone that cooking and sharing her knowledge is an act of love for Marta. She teaches with warmth and great preparation and instills the confidence in the audience that they can replicate the delicious food with the recipes she hands out to each person. Marta’s cookbook will give you the chance to introduce great food to your family and friends while you reap the complements. Enjoy! ~Arlene Berry
When I moved to Chicago, I was an average, uninteresting
cook. Marta is a passionate and enthusiastic cook and she makes everybody feel like they can cook anything. With Marta’s guidance, I have developed an enthusiasm and interest in cooking that I never had before. My family is thrilled with
the results! ~Teri Schoenhardt
Marta -- Thanks again for hosting the Cheesemaker and sharing such a great adventure with us! You were a wonderful hostess -- thank you so much for arranging such a fun and informative session! ~Martha Ballard
It's funny.... thinking back during our childhood I cannot identify a clear beginning to Marta’s, my baby sister, culinary interest. However, I remember, with special admiration, her commitment to the family garden helping harvest small crops such as onions, carrots and fruits to sell while sitting by the door of our country home where we grew up. The town of Chia, a small town situated a few kilometers from Bogota, the capital of Colombia. With the monies she earned selling vegetables, Marta dreamed about resolving any monetary problems among our brothers because she was generous with her earnings.
She would ask, “Can I help?”, here this is for you, …and for you…and for you" Marta left at an early age for the Atlantic coast of Colombia when she went to work as a teacher at the Autonoma University. However, her childhood in the rural regions of our parent’s properties contributed to a deep and real fondness for the incredible wealth of nature and the many types of foods offered in God’s gardens.
It was not family customs that helped Marta to develop her passion for cooking. In Colombia, at that time, upper-middle class young ladies generally had little to do with cooking.
Cooking was done in huge old stoves (wood or coal) and later gas, which were so large and dangerous for us little girls (the youngest of 6 siblings). We were rarely allowed to enter those kitchens, and to even slice bread, or chop an onion, was out of the question.
Therefore, I can only assure you that Marta’s love for cooking was mostly adopted in her adult life. Her passion and wisdom, combined with her travels and life experiences, resulted in her strong desire to make the most with the least.
I'm sure that it took her little effort to return to the roots of the garden and to be able to move toward healthy and varied foods. Marta has excelled at a combination of two very compatible arts: growing her own vegetables (without pesticides) and experimenting, or creating her own concoctions aimed at pleasing the palate.
She is active meeting people from all over the world, getting together often and sharing foods and recipes. She warmly welcome her friends and knows what it takes to be an excellent host together with her husband Bob, who is a kind man and a complement to my baby sister. I do not know how she has done it. Her love of cooking has made her a culinary teacher who longs to share her passion with everyone.
Again, in her heart Marta has the ability to help those in need, to resolve or alleviate problems. She wants the publication of her cookbook to show that cooking can be easy and anyone with a desire can do it. She wants to deliver the happiness that she finds in cooking and hopes that she can reproduce this excitement for others thru her cookbook. Her love and dedication is expressed even in the simplest daily routine of nourishing.
Martica, thanks for giving us two lessons: One for our well being, and another for awareness. Thanks to Bob, her husband who is
supportive and serves as the best of her critics. Likewise to Mollyana, her daughter, with all the family group that constantly surrounds them and make her the queen of the house, able to create foods that where she can share her soul, her life and her heart.
I love and admire you Martica! This was recently confirmed with Luis Carlos and I on our latest visit to your home. You're great and we see and acknowledge your strengths that have granted you a well-deserved and wonderful life. ~Maria Victoria Diaz De Suarez