About Us

My Story
What We Do
How We Support Your Goals

Food connects us with family and friends.

Food should also nourish us physically and mentally—and it's meant to be enjoyed! Preparing meals, however, can be daunting. Whether you’re just learning to cook, an avid culinary student, or ready for a European culinary travel adventure, I’ve got you covered!

My Story

I had wonderful grandparents.

“Mum and Dood” were organic farmers. They grew their veggies and if they didn’t, they knew who did. Dood milked the family cow and Mum made the best ice cream imaginable. 

My “Nana” was a society maven born in 1906 San Francisco. She had a cook who made gumdrop cookies, hosted elegant parties, and loved to eat out at fabulous restaurants. A widow like me, she’d often invite me to “dine with her”. Oh, how I loved those meals! 

And then there’s my mom.

Let’s just say that she knew how to throw sensational parties. She always invited “the uninvited”, a philosophy that has stuck with me. 

I grew up with an equal appreciation for simple, nutritious food from the farm and artfully prepared, elegant meals. My senses had come alive; I had to be around food! These three women forged in me a passion for food and cooking for others. 

I couldn’t wait to leave high school and dive into the food scene. I went to college for restaurant and foodservice management. I then headed to France and received a Diplome Etudes de Culinaires from La Varenne Ecole de Cuisine in Paris studying under Anne Willan and French chefs. While there, I worked at the famed Maximes (remember the movie “Gigi”?). My deep love of travel and world cuisine was born!

My career began in a small cooking school as a teacher’s assistant to the food stars of the 80s. Then, on to executive catering chef to the corporate office and executives of Saga Corporation. A career highlight for me was catering for the 49ers’ 1980 and 1985 Super Bowl wins! Next came consulting, restaurant recipe development and catering on my own. I was then asked to join my former boss at his small startup, Bon Appetit Management Company, now a million-dollar juggernaut, where I managed new accounts. It’s there that I met my husband.

We married and had three girls in five years. With my husband also in the restaurant business and working long hours, I managed the homefront. Ever the entrepreneur, I taught cooking classes, consulted, and developed and managed events for various non-profit organizations. 

After having my kids and keeping a hectic schedule, I began to gain weight. I started the roller coaster ride called “dieting,” including the high carb, no-fat diets, and just-plain-starving-yourself diets of the ’90s. l felt run down, sluggish, foggy. I wasn’t full of energy or “clear headed”. The worst of it? My food didn’t taste good! 

My life then turned upside down with my husband’s stage 4 diagnosis of cancer. After the initial shock, I had that “aha” moment where you harken back to what you know is right. I changed our diet and went back to what I had grown up with - healthy, organic, home-cooked food with plenty of good fats.

My sweet husband lost his life to cancer in 2011. I now had three girls in junior high and high school. Honestly, it was food that kept me going. Cooking was my therapy, and going back to my food roots with organic, wholesome food was my healer. 

My personal loss, unique food history, long career, and interest in world cultures, traditions, and foods, brings me to today. I want to pass on the legacy of three generations of women who have fed their families real food.

I understand how difficult it can be to “eat healthy” with so many mixed messages and opposing views. And then there’s the time constraint; who has time to cook? 

This is where you come in: My passion is to share what I’ve learned with both those who love to cook and those who want to learn how. For me, cooking together creates a community.

What we do

  • Learn how to be a master in your kitchen!
  • I teach the art, technique, and value of cooking and share culinary traditions from both the past and the present, drawing from the rich cultures of our community.
  • You’ll learn professional cooking methodologies and gain the tools you need to tackle any type of cuisine, menu, or diet.
  • I help you connect the dots in our local food system by introducing you to farmers, artisans, chefs, and others.
  • I believe in the 80/20 or perhaps 90/10 rule: an occasional treat is ok!
  • I source food that’s good for you using products that are organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, non-GMO, not highly processed vegetable oils, minimal sugar.

Community Cuisine offers a variety of options to support your goals

Seasonal Eating to Thrive Online Membership

  • offers monthly online talks with health experts
  • weekly short cooking videos
  • weekly recipes
  • lots of support
  • and other bonuses
Cooking Classes

both online and in-person

Culinary trips to France and Sweden
Culinary Retreats on occasion

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Private and Corporate classes, events, and retreats:

  • Book me for private cooking classes & demonstrations

  • Book me for corporate team building events

  • Book me for a private cooking retreat

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Community Cuisine
Campbell, CA

Photo Credits:
Amy Johnson, David Greer, and Phillip Romano
© 2008-2023 Community Cuisine, Barbie Aknin. All rights reserved. Site by Hirea, Co.