Deborah Madison grew up in Davis, California and later attended the University of California. Madison worked in the kitchen at the Zen Center in San Francisco then left to cook at Chez Panisse in Berkeley. Later, she returned to Zen Center to become the first chef at The Greens in Fort Mason. Madison has contributed articles to Saveur, Fine Cooking, Gourmet, Eating Well, and the Time-Life Cookbook Series. She has written The Greens Cookbook and The Savory Way, which won the Cookbook of the Year Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Madison has also received the M. F. K. Fisher Mid-Career Award.