I always wanted to be a chef. Born to Italian immigrant parents in Venezuela, I was surrounded by the culinary world of my Central-Italian heritage, rooted in Abruzzo. I started cooking when I was a child, helping my mother with her catering business on a part-time basis. We made homemade pastas, sauces and rustic breads. My father, who was a farmer in the mountains of Abruzzo, started a meat distribution business in Venezuela. I loved going with him to the countryside and to the farms to get the best quality products. I also loved watching him make charcuterie and the best salumi you can imagine. He was very passionate and respectful to his art. But my parents didn’t want me to be a cook or a chef. They encourage me to go to college and be a doctor or an engineer. So, I graduated as a Computer Engineer and worked for Oracle, Ernst & Young and Sun Microsystems for a total of 7 years. At Sun, and with my husband, I got to know the Bay Area.
I moved to the United States in mid 2000 and I decided to formalize my culinary passion at the California Culinary Academy, becoming a professional Pastry Chef. Some of my culinary knowledge and experience comes from my family’s Italian business and Culinary School. I also had local experience and training in many bakeries and restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area, including The Rose Pistola in North Beach, The Waterfront in Embarcadero, Market Hall in Oakland, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, and The Townhouse Grill & Restaurant in Emeryville. In 2005, I left restaurant production and started teaching Italian cooking and baking at various culinary centers (Draeger’s, Kitchen on Fire, Ramekins and Let’s Cook Santa Cruz) and privately. Since 2009, I’ve also been consulting for small businesses and wineries to develop their dessert menu and train their pastry team. One of my recent customer was the V. Sattui Winery in Napa.
In addition to my teaching, I wrote my first cookbook about the pastries of Abruzzo in 2008 (out of print). My second book about baking with olive oil was published in 2014.