The Quinoa Chronicles

How a humble food from the High Andes became a worldwide sensation.

The Quinoa Chronicles
A Memoir

Once a totally disrespected food, known only by poor indigenous peoples in the Andean mountain regions of South America, quinoa is now appreciated, eaten, and also grown throughout the world. Quinoa’s unique strengths as a food crop, its amazing nutritional characteristics, and its culinary excellence are finally getting the recognition they deserve. 

How did quinoa go from complete obscurity to being a worldwide sensation? Well...the true story is stranger than fiction, much stranger. Stephen Gorad tells that story, just as he lived it, in The Quinoa Chronicles.

The year is 1973. Two young men, both seeking to unravel the deepest mysteries of life, meet in a room in Boston. A friendship develops. A Chinese banquet leads to a ticket to Chile. Quinoa is discovered in a Bolivian street market. A love affair. A shirt is traded for a bag of seed. A business venture begins, grows, twists, turns, and falters. There is a murder. Perhaps a curse. A shaman comes to town. The friendship falls apart. A crook saves the day.

Yes, all this and more had to happen in order for you to be able to cook, eat and enjoy quinoa.

— Book Reviews —


“The Andean native people had deep respect for quinoa. They knew about it and worshiped it, some say for seven thousand years. We in the modern world are just beginning to hear about how great it is. In The Quinoa Chronicles you will learn a lot about quinoa, its magic and its greatness. This is a true story, but it reads like a fairy tale novel written in a simple and clear minded way. No one has ever written about quinoa and its intricacies the way Steve has. Then again, no one has lived with and loved quinoa the way he has. I have the profoundest respect and admiration for what Steve has done.”

— Rodrigo Arroyo R., C.E.O., Inagrofa S.C.C., Quito, Ecuador

The Quinoa Chronicles is a multifaceted and eye opening adventure into the journey of a visionary entrepreneur and a curious, potent grain, as they bridge worlds.” 

— Tyler Gage, co-founder, Runa LLC; author, Fully Alive:
Using the Lessons of the Amazon to Live Your Mission in Business and Life

“At once a spiritual guidebook, a collection of travel adventures, an unsolved crime story, and a frank saga of business success and failure, Dr. Gorad's quirky perspective makes for an absorbing and thought-provoking read. The Quinoa Chronicles entertains, educates, and stimulates. Lovers of quinoa, foodies, entrepreneurs, spiritual seekers, gardeners, armchair travelers, and even mystery buffs will find much to enjoy in this inspiring little memoir.”

— C. R., Berkeley, California

“In bringing quinoa to the United States and beyond, Stephen Gorad has provided a unique and valuable service to our health, well-being and culture. The unlikely and fortuitous events that enabled him to do so are recounted in the pages of this book. It is a story only Steve could tell.”

— Annie Kagan, author, The Afterlife of Billy Fingers

“The author believes that quinoa chose us to accomplish its mission, and not the other way around. I agree completely. Simply put, this book tells the story of a man in love with quinoa. Dr. Gorad’s unwavering passion contributed greatly to this mighty seed becoming a new staple in millions of North American pantries.”

— Sergio Nunez de Arco, President & C.E.O., Andean Naturals, Inc.

About the Author

Stephen Gorad was headed for traditional success. Educated at the prestigious Bronx High School of Science and M.I.T., he then earned a Ph.D. from Boston University and began a lucrative career as a clinical psychologist. Soon dissatisfied with conventional life, he turned his back on material success, and became a full-time spiritual seeker. That journey led him to travel in the South American Andes, where he discovered quinoa. He fell in love with it, felt he had to do something about getting quinoa known, and has now spent over four decades in service to that goal. Some say that he is like the “Johnny Appleseed” of quinoa. He says he is just a happy meditator, smiling at all that life offers. 

The Quinoa Chronicles Answers Your Questions...

What is quinoa?
How is it pronounced?
Where does it come from?
Is it a grain or a seed?
What are quinoa’s nutritional characteristics?
Why is it so unusual?
Does it need to be rinsed? Why?
How should it be cooked?
How many different types of quinoa are there?
How many ways can quinoa be used?
Is quinoa just a fad?
Why is it so important?
Is our quinoa consumption hurting poor people in Bolivia?
What is the very best quinoa? Why?
What is the future for quinoa?

No one knows more about quinoa than the person who first introduced this once little-known superfood. The Quinoa Chronicles contains a wealth of information, recipes, and more on how to make this amazing food a part of your life.

For the latest in quinoa news and recipes worldwide, visit us on Facebook at Quinoa World.

Listen to a 1986 interview with the author on National Public Radio.


Quinoa tabbouli salad

Basic Cooked quinoa

quinoa porridge

quinoa cornbread

Fried Quinoa balls

quinoa corn chowder

quinoa pancakes

quinoa croquettes

Photos from
The Quinoa Chronicles
Kindle Edition (Color)

The Bolivian Altiplano

The Bolivian Altiplano

View from Akapana hill, Tiahuanaco, Bolivia

Negotiating a contract with Julio

Lecture at a Tibetan college

paz and i get married

Tibetan quinoa field

Monolithic statue at Tiahuanaco

The Quinoa Queen

Bolivia's mountains

Ekeko, the God of Abundance

Don Eduardo Calderon, Peruvian shaman

Meeting Bolivian President Evo Morales at the UN

To contact the author click here.