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I am a cook.

Biography

Laura’s love of food and wine began in her Italian grandmother’s kitchen as she rolled homemade pasta, kneaded focaccia, stewed Bolognese sauce, sliced biscotti and pressed pizzelles. It picked up a few decades later at 10-week cooking class at Home Chef in San Francisco in early 1997 and followed with culinary trips to France and Italy.

In 2003, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board, leaving the tech world to attend culinary school. She received her Grand Diplôme in Classic Culinary Arts with Artisanal Baking from the French Culinary Institute led by Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner and Alain Sailhac, as well as the Fundamentals of Wine course taught by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson. Laura was the culinary assistant to Marcella Hazan in her “Master Class in Italian Cooking” and received the Outstanding Service Award, Certificate of Excellence upon graduating.

While in New York, Laura cooked for and assisted some of the world's best chefs, many at the renowned James Beard House, including Eric Bedousha (Financier), Mario Lohninger (Danube, David Bouley), Morimoto (Morimoto and 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 cooking school, Laura cooked at Farallon in San Francisco and followed as back kitchen chef on Jacques Pépin's PBS cooking show, "Fast Food, My Way". She moved to France in May 2004 where she cooked her way around the country from the Côte d'Azur cooking at the Cannes Film Festival to a lobster boat in Brittany to the world-famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie to the 3 Michelin star Four Seasons George V. Laura cooked for the legendary Olivia De Havilland and was the chef at the chateau featured in the DaVinci Code movie, the highlight being on set during the filming.

She returned home from France to worked on Jacques Pepin’s follow up PBS television series, "More Fast Food, My Way", as prop and food stylist. Laura published her first book, “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French Kitchen v1.0”, highlighting her first three months cooking in France. Laura returned to France giving market tours and private cooking lessons and writing weekly dispatches for KQED’s food website, Bay Area Bites, sharing her culinary life in Paris.

Since returning to San Francisco, Laura’s culinary experiences have included: recipe development for Meredith’s Better Homes and Garden magazine, teaching cooking classes at Williams Sonoma on Union Square, back kitchen cook on Jacques Pepin’s last PBS television series, “Heart and Soul” and as guest chef cooking instructor at Rancho la Puerta, the #1 rated health spa in the world by Condé Nast Travel and Leisure.

Laura kicked off 2017 with a formal focus on wine, passing the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Certified Sommelier exam with the goal of bringing a more expansive wine knowledge to her cooking. B.C. (before covid), Laura hosted 5-course food and wine paired pop-up dinners, wine tastings, and food-wine pairing and cooking classes in her downtown San Francisco high-rise apartment overlooking the Bay Bridge light show.

B.O.C. (because of covid), Laura created the Quarantine Community to bring people together as the world was moving apart. She hosts a Friday night Quarantine Cocktail and a Saturday Quarantine Cooking cook-along that includes Quarantine Calisthenics, Quarantine Corking and Quarantunes for fellow quarantiners from around the globe! Special guests zoom in to the online gatherings and share their extraordinary gifts and expertise including world renowned fitness experts, local farmers, local winemakers, local spirits producers, stars from the San Francisco Opera and NYC Broadway, a local screenwriter, Grammy nominated musicians, composers and singers, Beach Blanket Babylon stars and many more.

In the summer of 2020, Laura volunteer with World Central Kitchen cooking for evacuees and first responders as wildfires raged through Napa and Sonoma Valleys and the Santa Cruz Mountains. In 2022, Laura participated in WCK's chef relief training and put that to good use a few months later cooking with WCK on the Poland-Ukraine border for Ukrainian refugees fleeing their horrific invasion.

Inspired by her experience, Laura launch a non-profit - Feed the World - to continue her fundraising and humanitarian aid activism for Ukraine and, as of Spring 2024, has traveled into Ukraine multiple times, most recently along the south eastern front lines delivering humanitarian aid to orphanages, hospitals, schools, churches, and villages where aid is desperately needed.

Laura continues to teach cooking online when she can given her nomadic life at the moment. Bon appetit!