About Relish

Donna-Marie and MariaWe are best-selling cookbook author Donna-Marie Pye and fellow culinary enthusiast Maria Burjoski. We’ve been cooking – and chatting about cooking – for many years. We’ve long dreamt of owning our own cooking school and sharing our passion for great food with others. We invite you to join us in the fulfillment of this dream.


Growing up in Whitby, Ontario, Donna-Marie was introduced to great food at an early age.  Memories of summers spent putting up beans, corn, peaches and tomatoes with her mother and sisters, picking and selling strawberries at a roadside country stand, catching fish off the east coast of Canada and cooking over campfires on family camping trips created Donna-Marie’s appreciation for unfussy, flavourful food.

Donna-Marie’s straightforward style and easy-going manner are illustrated by her heartfelt belief that cooking is easy and anyone can do it.  All anybody needs are a few tips and tricks, a handful of well-tested recipes and some time-saving cooking tools, all of which is offered at Relish Cooking Studio with sincerity and humility.

Donna-Marie is a Professional Home Economist (P.H.Ec) and holds a Bachelor in Applied Science in Food and Nutrition from Ryerson University, a diploma in Public Relations from York University and has taken cooking courses around the world.  She is the best-selling author of four cookbooks including Canada’s/America’s Best Slow Cooker Recipes, The Best Family Slow Cooker Recipes, 300 Slow Cooker Favourites and 300 Slow Cooker Winners. Her newest cookbook "The Essential Vortex Air Fryer Cookbook" was released in November 2020, and her newest slow cooker cookbook is due for release March 2021. She is also a busy wife and mother to two grown and almost-gone children, daughter Darcy & son Jack.


Growing up in a large Italian family here in Waterloo, food and cooking were just part of Maria’s daily life.  While she was born in Sicily, the family emigrated to Canada when she was just two years old.  She spent her early years helping her father deliver Italian soda pop to Portugese and Italian homes in the area, tending to the family’s garden patch with her grandfather (or “marrying the zucchini”  as her Nonno would say) and picking and trimming tomatoes during the annual family tomato canning extravaganza!

Many people coming to Relish, often comment that she looks so familiar.  That’s because, many remember her face from the St. Jacob’s Farmers Market, when she ran a homemade biscotti business with her sister Angela “Mangia Cakes & More” or as a behind-the-counter assistant in her cousin’s meat counter, Charles Quality Meats.  Maria’s friendly attitude and warm personality, ensures everyone has a wonderful experience when they visit Relish.

Maria has a diploma in business and marketing from Conestoga College (making her the master bookkeeper) and is the mother to three grown and gone children – Eliana, Laura and Daniel plus proud grandmother to two beautiful granddaughters.