Maria Liberati | Influencer Spotlight 138

Connect with Maria
Intellifluence profile
Maria Liberati is a celebrity chef, Gourmand World Award winning author, lifestyle personality and host of the Maria Liberati Show. Maria’s book, The Basic Art of Italian Cooking was published in 2005 and was the first in a series of books that include recipes, menus and charming stories from her life in a town in the mountains of Italy. Additionally, Maria is the winner of the culinary travel blog of the year by the NY Travel Writers’ Society and the Culinary Content Innovators Award by Corporate Live Wire. Maria’s portrait, painted by celebrated Italian artist Sergio Terzi (Nerone) was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and around the world. You can learn more about Maria and order her books at and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, including how you transitioned from a supermodel into the world of cooking?

I was modeling in Italy and I started researching my family’s history and my family roots and meeting family members and going and just researching and finding out that one part of my family had this gigantic winery vineyard and I found out all the history and it was an operation and I ended up staying there and learning some of the, you know, how to produce the local cheeses and the wine making process. And then another part of my family also had a bakery that made this traditional bread from this region.

Related: Can I send influencers more details before they begin working on my campaign?

So I ended up studying there, staying there, a little kind of studying very informally and just really… I mean, it’s not hard to do and fell in love with the food in Italy and decided to study it professionally there.

I read an article that described you as the Italian Martha Stewart. At what point did you realize that you were so influential in the world of food and lifestyle?

I guess because everything is online, you don’t really realize anybody’s watching you until… So when I would start doing personal appearances and there would be lines of people wanting to come to my book signings and so excited about different recipes and asking me any questions about stories that I wrote and all and I’m like, “Wow, people are really listening and watching!” I guess it really from when I started doing live events and it is really nice too to get that kind of feedback. So, yes.

Your Basic Art of… series has been very popular. It’s covered a wide variety of general Italian cooking, including pasta pizza, cocktails, coffee, and much more. So is the series continuing to evolve? What do you have coming out soon?

During the pandemic, wasn’t able to travel to Italy. Not sure if I can now, either, but I had all these diaries that I wrote while I was living there. And I decided to go back, look at my diary entries and actually make them into a book series. So the first one is coming out in May and that’s called, it’s [part of] The Basic Art of Italian Cooking [series], but this is called The Basic Art of Italian Cooking Diaries. And this is more like, they’re diary entries of my life in Italy.

Photo courtesy of Maria Liberati

This book is divided into seasons and each entry has recipes that go along with the diary entry. So that’s happening, that’s a new thing and yes, it’s always evolving. And I do a cooking series called The Basic Art of Italian Cooking that we are starting, actually it’s streaming on Roku and we’re growing. Now, it should be on Comcast soon too. So yes, it’s always evolving and always growing, finding new ways.

I love your approach too, like a cookbook combined with a memoir, almost. There’s just so much fascinating information and stories behind the food that we eat and that just really provides a context and enhances it.

Exactly. That was the one idea I had. I just always felt like food is really an experience. It’s not just a recipe you put together with a bunch of ingredients. It should be an experience. So that’s why I wanted to make my cookbooks that way.

In our hectic modern existence, what are some benefits that people can experience from the Italian approach to cooking dining and community?

Well, the Italian approach is very slow. We have a famous organization in it that started in Italy called Slow Food. And now there’s like slow everything, slow fish, slow life. So that if anybody wants to look up slow food, they’ll see, the approach is to take the time to make really healthy, good food from original ingredients and also take the time to enjoy them with people that you know, friends, family, that’s really, really important. So I think those are the two takeaway things that people should take.

That’s what actually what I really learned from exploring my Italian culture more while living there was, this idea, it’s a slow kind of approach but it’s really a healthier approach. It makes you enjoy and you do need to take time. That’s the one secret of Italian cooking, it’s time and love.

Related: What should I put in the Required Work?

So if you don’t put love into what you’re doing and time it’s just not going to be there no matter what kind of ingredients you use. So time is really… You know, to always take the time to cook and time to enjoy what you’re doing.

When I’m putting these interview questions together, sometimes I’m grasping for information [to discuss] but there’s no shortage of content that you have on your website, from cookbooks, blog content, your podcast, your video content, how do you structure average day so you can accomplish [everything], while still having some time to relax, as you speak about?

That’s a really good question. I wish I knew. It’s just kind of like it happens. I just learned to live that way. It’s really my life, food is my life and I just live it. So I structure my day. I do have an early day, I usually get up around 5:00, 5:30. I love to get my exercise in and I like to just clear my mind and think of, “Okay, this is what I’m going to do today. This is how I’m going to start.”

Photo courtesy of Maria Liberati

But I do have my podcast interviews organized for certain days of the week. And then I try to do writing because I still do my writing. I try to still have time for that. I used to do that later at night when things are quiet and I can collect my thoughts but I’m just so used to it. It’s my life now and which I enjoy, so it just happens naturally. So it’s not as organized as it probably should be but it is organized in my I own way and it all fits. So it’s organized but early to bed, early to rise, those types of things. That’s how I accomplish what I do.

When considering your vast collection, where’s a good place for people to get started if they want to start a journey in Italian cooking?

If they want to start a journey in Italian cooking, my first book is The Basic Art of Italian Cooking. It’s like a coffee table book and that has stories about the history of different recipes and the little towns that I lived in and just some really charming experiences with the townspeople. And it has very basic, the easiest, basic recipes that people could start with. But Italian cooking is very simple and basic. It’s not extremely complicated. But that one, that book has those basic recipes people can get started on.

Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.