I am a cook.
My culinary passion began as a child, spending endless hours in my Italian grandmother’s kitchen, which always had a bubbling pot of tomato sauce on the stove. I would run in, rip a chunk of freshly baked bread and dunk it in the tomato sauce. I burned my tongue every time…but I didn’t care!
My professional career was ignited by my first cooking class at Home Chef in San Francisco in early 1997. I also studied in Paris, France at the Francoise Meunier Ecole de Cuisine and The Ritz Ecoffier and in Florence, Italy at the Apicius/Lorenzo de' Medici Culinary Center.
Yearning to share my experiences and passion, I launched a small cooking school in my home and invited friends, family and acquaintances to join me in my humble version of the Tuscan countryside... to become infused with the culture that fills my soul. Taking the nickname my Italian grandfather gave me as a child—“testa rossa”, which translates as “red head”—Cucina Testa Rossa, or the Red Head's Kitchen, was officially open for business.
I soon aspired to become a chef so I moved to New York City and immersed myself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. I graduated from the French Culinary Institute where I had the priviledge of studying under such culinary gems as Jacques Pépin, André Soltner (Lutece), Alain Sailhac (Le Cirque), and Andrea Immer (Master Sommelier).
While in New York, I had the honor of working with some of the world's best chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto (Morimoto & Iron Chef), Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Cafe), Mario Batali (Babbo), Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio, Sensi), Dave Pasternak (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).
After working on the back kitchen set of Jacques Pépin's PBS cooking show, "Fast Food, My Way" (You won't see me, but you'll see my food!), I moved to France where I am cooking my way around the country. I launched my tour in the south of France on the Côte d'Azur cooking at the Cannes Film Festival. I then traveled to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, and cooked on a lobster boat/restaurant specializing in fish and shellfish.
I then headed east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where I made thousands of his spectacular macarons every day! I cooked for the legendary Olivia De Havilland and interned at the world renowned Four Seasons George V under the tutelage of legendary Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir.
In Summer 2005, I was the chef and culinary instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau just outside of Paris and was on the set during the filming of the movie - the highlight of my summer!
In Fall 2007, I worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. "More Fast Food, My Way" should air in the Spring of 2008. Once again, you won’t see me but you’ll see the plates I selected. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, my first book highlights my first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is my second book and should be published in Fall 2008.
I am now splitting my time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!