Mary Luz Mejia is a Colombian-born, Canadian-raised journalist (food is her passion), researcher, presenter/speaker, food event curator/organizer, non-fiction documentary producer and cook. With a professional background encompassing food and travel writing for print, television and the Internet, as well as working in food television as an associate producer, researcher and director for close to two decades, Mary Luz brings a unique, global perspective to the table. She has written (and ghost written) everything from literary profiles, PR copy, travel, lifestyle and business articles to pieces related to her favourite subject – food!
She’s the Contributing Editor- Worldly Delights (culinary travel) of the award winning Ensemble Vacations Magazine, the former Brunch Columnist (The Morning After) for The Toronto Star, a regular featured writer for Sympatico.ca 's food pages and a regular contributor to the culinary travel website Bon Vivant Travel. She has written the content of many professional websites including Stirling Creamery and Fred's Bread. Her work has appeared in enRoute Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Life online, Canadian Living Online, openfile.ca, Clean Eating Magazine, Edible Toronto, The Bakers Journal, The Queen’s University Alumni Review and, in the United States, Mary Luz has written for Organic Gardening, Saveur and Latina magazines.
Her work can also be found in the cookbook, "Inside the Mandarin - Celebrating 30 Years of Delicious Dining" (February 2009).
When not writing or working behind the scenes of a TV series, she can be found taking cooking classes wherever her travels take her (favourites include Madrid, Cusco, Mexico and some fine classes in home base Toronto). She even managed to squeeze in a 3 week internship at Dana McCauley and Associates’ test kitchens and sensory excellence centre, where she tested a few recipes, did a little food styling and a lot of learning.
Most recently, she and husband Mario Stojanac worked with Alvin Starkman and Chef Pilar Cabrera Arroyo in Oaxaca, Mexico on a successful culinary tour throughout the region.
Communications & Events
Working in various forms of media gives Mary Luz a hands-on appreciation for what makes a good story, which is why she has been writing PR copy for numerous publicists on opposite coasts. ML launched Sizzling Communications a few years ago with her husband- a boutique food communications company
in which relationships form the core of our philosophy. Our singular approach to every project in which we are involved centres around believing in the people and the products that we work with.
In 2012, ML conceived and created REEL EATS- a monthly food, film and story telling event that pairs Toronto's finest chefs with seasoned story tellers, a hungry audience and a fabulous food-related film.
As a Television producer, director, researcher and writer for numerous non-fiction/documentary series, Mary Luz has worked on the magazine show Toronto Life (based on the magazine of the same name) for Toronto I, three seasons of the popular food-fest, Street Eats, for which she also penned a successful corresponding food column in 24 Hours Toronto that ran for two years. She has subsequently worked in a researching, producing and directing capacity for all three seasons of the Gemini-nominated bio-doc series, “At the Table With…” , which celebrates the lives of international culinary luminaries. Most recently, she sleuthed food-based challenges and excursions as Associate Producer/Segment Producer on Seasons I, II & III of W and Viva Networks' show, "Fearless in the Kitchen" with Canadian culinary celebrity, Christine Cushing.
Her TV work has appeared on the Food Network Canada, The CBC, A&E, Slice, VIVA, W Network, Equator HD, Much Music, Knowledge TV, Vision TV, CanWest Global, the US Cooking Channel and at the Toronto International Film Festival. She got her start in the industry after earning a BA Honours in History from Queen’s University, followed by a post-graduate Journalism diploma from Humber College.
A self-organized internship at Colombia’s largest daily, “El Colombiano” in Medellin, led to a position at The CBC’s National and Newsworld newsrooms in Toronto. Her ability to speak fluent Spanish took her to South Florida where she lived for three years and had the opportunity to meet and interview many of her personal heroes, including author Isabel Allende, film producer Moctesuma Esparza (of Selena and The Milagro Beanfield War) and “The Simpson’s” Executive Producer Phil Roman for the TV series, “Triunfadores.”
Links to Video Clips
*To View Some of the Following Links - you'll need Windows Media Player - download for free here if you don't have it or Quicktime.*
Bandeja Paisa- Colombia Episode Guest
A clip from Street Eats (Season III) on SunTV- Mary Luz introduces show host Ali Rizi to the carnivorous wonders of a Bandeja Paisa for the Colombia episode.
At the Table With...Norman Van Aken - Episode Tease - Season I
"At the Table With..." is a biographical documentary series for the Food Network Canada that features Mary Luz as Associate Producer, researcher, writer and director. She directed, researched and wrote this episode on Season I. Filmed in Key West and Orlando, Fla.
At the Table With...Rick Bayless - Episode Tease - Season II
Mary Luz directed, researched and wrote this episode. Filmed on location in Chicago.
At the Table With... Susana Trilling - Episode Tease- Season III
Directed, written and produced by Mary Luz on location in Oaxaca, Mexico and NYC, NY.
Toronto Life- Gourmet Row - Weekly magazine show including my fave- food stories! (2003)
Directed, written and produced by Mary Luz with DOP, Rion Gonzalez.
Toronto Life- Beer Bistro
Directed, written and produced by Mary Luz with DOP, Rion Gonzalez (2003)
Toronto Life- Lobby (before the make-over, 2003, when Trevor Wilkinson was chef there)
Journeys of the Heart: Peru Interview with Mary Luz - HiFi HD "On the Map" - Oprhanage Piece
Journeys of the Heart: Peru Interview with Mary Luz- HiFi HD "On the Map"- Machu Picchu Experience
Journeys of the Heart: Peru - Documentary Trailer
Shot in Cusco, Peru, this nine part documentary series on HD (for Equator HD) featured Mary Luz as one of two series directors and the crew's only fluent Spanish-speaker/translator.
Interviews with Culinary Greats
- Pilar Cabrera Arroyo- of La Olla and Casa de Los Sabores, Oaxaca, Mexico
- Jason Bangerter- of Auberge du Pommier in Toronto
- Rick Bayless- of Chicago's Frontera Grill and Topolobampo
- Ray Bear-East Coast chef, Halifax, NS
- Paul Bosc Sr. and Paul-Andre Bosc - Chateau des Charmes Vineyard, Niagara, ON
- Michele Bosc- Chateau des Charmes Vineyard, Niagara, ON
- Jeff Crump- Ancaster Old Mill, Ancaster, ON
- Christine Cushing- Canadian Celebrity TV Chef/Broadcaster
- Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford- Award winning cookbook authors
- Barbara Fairchild- Editor in Chief, Bon Appétit Magazine
- Rob Feenie- Canada's Iron Chef winner, Vancouver-based celebrity chef
- Susan McKenna-Grant- of Tuscany's La Petraia
- Marcella Hazan- Italian food authority/writer
- Massimo Capra- Celebrity Chef/Italian food expert
- Michael Howell- Tempest Restaurant, Wolfville, NS
- Madhur Jaffrey- Indian food writer/expert and actress
- Jamie Kennedy- of JK Wine Bar and JK restaurants, Toronto, ON
- Susur Lee- of Toronto's Madeline's, Lee, and Shang in NYC
- Brad Long- of Toronto's Veritas, and Food Network Canada fame
- Michael Lomonaco- Porter House, NYC, NY
- Sara Moulton- Executive Chef, Gourmet Magazine Cooking Arts Center
- Carrie Oliver- of The Oliver Ranch Company- Beef Expert
- Jamie Oliver- British Chef/author
- Anna Olson- Olson Fine Foods & Canadian celebrity chef- Niagara Region, Canada
- James Oseland- Editor in Chief, Saveur Magazine
- Martin Picard- of Montreal's Au Pied de Cochon
- Maricel Presilla- Latin American food expert, writer/author, historian and chef
- Ruth Reichl- Editor in Chief, Gourmet Magazine
- Doug Rodriguez- Nuevo Latino cuisine creator, chef, and author
- Suvir Saran- Devi, NYC, NY
- Bonnie Stern- of Toronto's Bonnie Stern's School of Cooking
- Marc Thuet- of Toronto's Atelier Thuet
- Stephen Treadwell- of Treadwell's Farm to Table Cuisine- Niagara Region, ON
- Susana Trilling- of Seasons of My Heart Cooking School in Oaxaca, Mexico
- Norman Van Aken- of Norman's Orlando
- Judy Witts Francini- Divina Cucina in Tuscany, Italy
- Winlai Wong - Executive Chef- Spice Route, Toronto, ON
Memberships and Recognition
- Associate Editor and section editor of "Worldly Delights" (culinary travel) for ENSEMBLE MAGAZINE which won a Silver in the International Travel Magazine category in the 2010 North American Travel Journalist Association awards. We tied with National Geographic Traveler! 2011, the magazine won a Bronze NATJA award.
- Judge and host for the Harbroufront Centre's various festival since 2009.
- Judge for The Nickel City Chef Competition- Season 2-4, Buffalo, NY- 2010-2012
- Gemini-nomination for Season I of "At the Table With..." bio doc series airing on the Food Network Canada (2008) - Episode: Susur Lee
- Canadian Association of Broadcasters Golden Ribbon Award Magazine Programming Nominee (Associate Producer/Director for Toronto Life- the TV magazine show that aired on Toronto I from 2003-2004)
- Multiple Editor's Choice distinctions for Suite101.com Food Trends writing (2008-2011t)
- Stratford Chef School Selection Committee for Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer in Residence (2011-Present)
- Summer Institute of Film and Television Multiculturalism Scholarship Winner for the documentary workshop program (1996)
- Women’s Culinary Network Member
- NATJA Member since 2010
- Queen’s University Alumni Review Editorial Advisory Board member (2008-2010)
- Part of Spirit Hospitality's Judging Committee for Culinary and Hospitality Scholarships (2009)