About Community Cuisine

Community Cuisine brings people together in the kitchen to cook, to learn, and to celebrate.

Food is a vehicle for gathering. It brings us around the table to connect with family and friends, new and old. Food should also nourish us physically and mentally - and it's meant to be enjoyed! Preparing meals, however, can be daunting.

Join us and learn how to master your kitchen.

  • We teach the art, technique and value of cooking.
  • We share culinary traditions from both the past and the present, drawing from the rich cultures of our community.
  • We connect the dots in our local food system by introducing the community to farmers, artisans, chefs, and others.
  • We incorporate professional cooking methodology that offers our students the tools they need to tackle any type of cuisine, menu, or diet.
  • We celebrate life together by throwing delicious parties!

We host: 

  • Cooking classes & demonstrations
  • Informational lectures 
  • Food events

For the home cook, our services include:

  • Cooking instruction in private and public settings
  • Private cooking classes & parties

For cooking teachers:

  • We offer a space, promotion and support for professionals looking for a place to teach cooking 

We believe:

  • In cooking our own food
  • In putting real food on our tables
  • Food is a platform for health
  • Cooking and eating with people is a recipe for connection
  • In a balance of "eating to live" and "living to eat"


Barbie Aknin

One grandmother with an organic farm in the San Joaquin Valley, the other, a society maven born and raised in San Francisco. These two women forged in Barbie a passion for food, creating a life-long obsession.

Barbie received diplomas in restaurant and foodservice management from West Valley College in Saratoga and a Diplome Etudes de Culinaires from La Varenne Ecole De Cuisine in Paris, France.

Her career began in a small cooking school as a teacher’s assistant to the food stars of the 80s including Paula Wolfert, John Clancey and others. Then, on to a position as executive catering chef to the corporate office and executives of Saga Corporation.  She catered for the 49ers and celebrities including Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, Danny Thomas, Quincey Jones, and Dino De Laurentiis. Next came consulting, restaurant recipe development, and catering on her own.

She was then asked by her former boss to join him at his small startup, Bon Appetit Management Company, now a million-dollar juggernaut, where she opened and managed new accounts.

Her story continues with marriage and three baby girls. Here, she chose to step away from working full time to raise her girls. While at home and ever the entrepreneur, she taught cooking classes, consulted, and developed and managed events for various non-profit organizations.

Barbie’s personal food history, long career and interest in world cultures, traditions and foods, brings her to this today. She blends these interests with a love for nutrition, current trends, and integrity food meaning food prepared using real ingredients properly grown or raised. She loves to teach those who love to cook and those who want to learn how. For Barbie, cooking together creates Community Cuisine.

Barbie was a stagiaire (trainee) at Maxim's, Paris. 1980.



Cheryl Buck

In Cheryl’s early professional career she was a key staff member of The Hunger Project engaged in the worldwide movement to end world hunger. As Executive Assistant to the CEO, she traveled extensively throughout India and Africa where she saw first hand the devastating effects of poverty, hunger and malnutrition. Through The Hunger Project, Cheryl was engaged in building the worldwide commitment to end hunger that is now enshrined in the United Nations Sustainable Development goals for 2030.

After twelve years with The Hunger Project she married, became a mother, and began her extensive studies in health and nutrition. As a cancer survivor, she is grateful to be in the process of healing herself successfully through nutrition.

Cheryl is a philanthropist and an entrepreneur. Now, her focus is on creating a place that offers education in the fundamentals of cooking, the importance of producing and eating real food, and healing the body with focused nutrition. Cheryl specializes in the wisdom of Weston A. Price and the GAPS protocol.

From victim of the low-fat craze of the 1960’s, to activist in the effort to end world hunger with The Hunger Project, she is now responding to the need for a return of the culinary wisdom and nourishing traditions of our ancestors. 

Cheryl’s passion lies in seeking answers to the question: What should we eat to live a long and disease-free life and naturally maintain a lean, healthy body?


Caprice Hardy, R.D.

Faithfully feeding her family and friends for over 30 years, Caprice has a passion for nutritious food, properly prepared and beautifully presented.  She received her B.S. degree in Dietetics and Food Administration from California State University, Chico.  After graduating with honors, she completed a dietetic internship at the VA in La Jolla, CA and continues to maintain her Registered Dietitian credential.  Her continuing education focuses on the current trends in nutrition with an emphasis on the functional and integrative aspects of food that promote optimal health to avoid chronic disease.

Caprice specialized in Foodservice Management at the beginning of her career, working in long term care facilities in San Francisco and Burlingame, CA. She has also played an integral role in the success of the family restaurant, the Loose Caboose Café, in Mendocino County, soon to celebrate 30 years in business. Check it out if you’re ever in Willits, best lunch in town!  After marrying her college sweetheart and starting a family, she moved to Vermont and then to Germany.  Quite an adventure for this California native!  

Finding herself back in San Jose three years later, Caprice has been on a journey back to her original love of food and nutrition ever since, but now with a different focus.  She is determined to answer the question, “How can our culture find our way out of the chronic health crisis that we’re in?” With the belief that “food is medicine,” Caprice is on the right path to answer this question and share it with others as the newest member of our Community Cuisine team!