Hudson Valley Restaurant Week 2011: Meet Guest Blogger Maria Reina


Here’s a look at some of the guest bloggers who will be covering Hudson Valley Restaurant Week for Small Bites. HVRW goes from March 14, through March 27, where participating restaurants offer three-course lunches for $20 and three-course dinners for $28. For a look at the full list of participants, visit

My name is Maria Reina, and I am thrilled to be returning this year as a Guest Blogger for the HV Restaurant Week. Food has always been a big part of my life. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved to think about food, and be around food, whether in a kitchen creating something or enjoying some one else’s fabulous creation.

]After a successful 20+ year career in Retail Management and Human Resources I decided to start over and follow my passion. (I have the great good fortune to married to an amazing man, who never blinked when I said I wanted to do that!) In 2007 I went back to school, studying at the Italian Culinary Academy in New York City and at the prestigious ALMA in Parma, Italy. After finishing my training at ALMA I apprenticed at the only two Michelin star restaurant in the region of Abruzzo, Ristorante Reale. A few months after returning from Italy I landed a job as part of the opening team at the fabulous Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, as Garde Manger.

In October of 2009 I left restaurant life, started my own company (Bella Cucina Maria) and ventured out on my own as a private chef and caterer, a career I thoroughly enjoy! Recently, I’ve embarked on something new:  giving cooking lessons for middle school kids and adults near my home in Port Chester, NY.  I’m having a great time doing that too!

I’m looking forward to visiting some great restaurants with my husband Larry, and a few of our friends. Keep an eye out for my blogs!


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Guest bloggers are encouraged to contribute to Small Bites. To submit an idea, email food editor Liz Johnson at

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