Cooking is in Maria Vieages’s blood.
Of Portuguese and Sicilian heritage and a native of New Orleans, Maria began cooking at the age of 5.
She remembers helping her Sicilian mother and aunt stuff artichokes for St. Joseph Day altars, make muffalettas for Christmas Eve, and roll bruccilone for Sunday dinner.
It being New Orleans, there was also a lot of gumbo-stirring, pepper-stuffing, and trout-frying going on.
Cooking has always been Maria Vieages’s dream.
After obtaining a degree in Radiology, Maria realized at the age of 30 that cooking was her dream.
She threw herself into it, attending Delgado School of Culinary Arts, apprenticing at the Hotel Intercontinental New Orleans and the Sazerac Hotel at the Fairmont Hotel – New Orleans. She labored in the kitchen of Chef Emeril Lagasse to further her education.
In 1997, Maria opened a small cafe, upscale takeout, and catering business, and built it to 42 employees.
Maria Vieages has been through the ringer, but she never stopped cooking.
If someone says “New Orleans,” what do you think of? Yes, the food, and music, and Mardi Gras.
But even more than that, it’s Hurricane Katrina.
Hurricane Katrina was a pivotal moment in Maria’s life. She lost her home, her beloved cafe, and a lifetime’s worth of memories to the wind and water.
Maria moved to California. She also brought the wisdom of surviving a disaster, and the knowledge that food and cooking renew, refresh, and inspire – in good times and in bad.
Maria Vieages’s dream keeps on keeping on.
Today, Maria keeps on living her dream, dividing her time between The San Francisco Bay Area/Wine Country, CA. and New Orleans. Maria continues to cook for intimate, private gatherings, teaches cooking classes, and films cooking videos. Maria also travels to numerous cities creating pop up dinners with a New Orleans theme.
She has a cooking show in development. Recently she auditioned for The Food Network, is working on a project with the Oprah Winfrey Network, and filmed as the private chef, with HGTV’s House Hunters on Vacation– Wine Country Episode
Maria regularly rocks the seas as a guest chef on Celebrity Cruises, teaching cooking classes, providing cooking demos and heading one of the first passenger culinary competitions on the high seas.
Maria believes in the joy and the healing capacity of sharing good food, laughter, and great company.
She brings her Sicilian and Portuguese heritage, her New Orleans influences, and her love of local ingredients together in innovative dishes her clients love.
Maria Vieages would love to cook with you. It’s her favorite thing to do.
Contact Maria at 504.505.3051 to schedule a private dinner or cooking demonstration. Location is your preference.