Tostada Magazine was founded on the premise that food is the unifying theme that breaks down barriers and preserves culture. Through illuminating storytelling and photography, our journalism celebrates the many communities that contribute to Metro Detroit’s food world. Our reporting is about empowerment and creating awareness, not appropriation. That means weekly dispatches that range from personal essays around food and identity; thoughtful analysis on the impact that immigrant communities have on what we eat; profiles on the restaurant workers, chefs, farmers, entrepreneurs and activists who are working toward more equitable foodways; and features that highlight the many eateries owned and operated in the region’s diverse communities. We also strive to work with independent journalists and photographers who bring with them perspectives that are not often represented in mainstream food media.
Serena Maria Daniels brings with her more than a decade of award-winning journalism experience working at the intersection of food, culture, politics and entrepreneurship. She is also contributing writer for NextCity.org, where she covers income inequality and its effects on communities of color in and out of Detroit, with an emphasis on the policy solutions in place to address those systemic issues. Serena is the previous dining editor for the Detroit Metro Times, which encompassed daily food blogging, restaurant critic, trend-spotter and occasional photographer. Her food writing also appears in the James Beard Award-winning Roads & Kingdoms, NPR’s The Salt, Lucky Peach, Eater, Extra Crispy and others. In 2015-2016, she worked alongside a team of local journalists to conduct research for Oscar-winning filmmakers Mark Boal and Kathryn Bigalow for the development of the movie “Detroit.” As a staff writer at the Chicago Tribune, Serena worked with a team on coverage of the deaths of two firefighters, selected as a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2011 for breaking news. Her reporting on stories of global interest include coverage of the Flint water crisis, the Detroit bankruptcy, foreclosure epidemic, the Syrian refugee crisis, U.S. immigration policy, and the legacy of NAFTA and appear in Reuters, NPR’s Latino USA, The Detroit News, Hour Detroit, Bridge magazine and elsewhere. She is a 2014 Ford Fellow at the International Center for Journalists and holds a bachelor’s in journalism from California State University, Northridge. Her favorite tacos come from back home in LA, she doesn’t believe in ketchup on hot dogs and prefers her pizza square. Find her on Twitter and Instagram at @serenamaria36. Read more of her reporting here.
Shahid Syed is the guy who everyone turns to for food recommendations. It comes from his Indian-American upbringing, where food was the centerpiece of all family gatherings, whether it be Friday nights at Big Boy or auntie’s biryani for iftar during Ramadan. That sensibility has carried on throughout his nearly 15-year career in business development and sales, where meetings are often held over dinner in many of Metro Detroit’s hidden gems. Shahid thrives on the ability to evaluate opportunities, uncover talent and develop relationships resulting in a variety of entrepreneurial ventures in health care, food and most recently in film. In 2009, Shahid joined Detroit-based Exxodus Pictures to help in the production of the motion picture “Jinn,” among the company’s suite of products. Shahid holds a bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Michigan at Dearborn. In his spare time, Shahid is likely to be on WhatsApp, debating with his friends over the best halal burgers in town. There is never a shortage of topics. Find him on Instagram @roaming_shasy