Maya is an interdisciplinary researcher, foodmaker, and artist, combining her backgrounds in gastronomy, nutrition, and movement to investigate ways to engage the everyday eater. New to Montreal, Maya is a doctoral student in the Communications Department at Concordia University. She completed her master’s degree in Food Culture and Communication with an emphasis in media, meaning, and representation at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy. Her thesis, “Messy Matters: How Performative Acts of Fermentation and Material Agency ‘Do’ Food,” examined how discourses of the body, the materiality of food, and the agency of microbes interact in individual instances of fermentation practice. Her current research explores fermentation as a framework to further study the power dynamics between self and “microbial other” with hopes of envisioning a future that equally tends to human health, planetary health, and the microbiome.
As an independent researcher, Maya studied the scavenging power of antioxidants using the linear accelerator at the University of Notre Dame (2011), analyzed the kinetics of irradiating veterinary pharmaceuticals/food additives in pig/pork (2012), and conducted fieldwork in Fukushima, Japan to observe changes in the food system after the nuclear disaster (2013). Most recently, she learned the hands-on practices of traditional food culture in rural Japan, with emphasis in fermentation as a preservation technique (2015). This led her to study the delicious potential of Aspergillus oryzae and enzymatically activated foods at the Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen, Denmark (2016).
Prior to her research career, Maya enjoyed managing Gladys Avenue Urban Farm in Los Angeles County and dancing professionally with various performing arts projects in San Francisco, California.