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Toni PiccininiNEW MAKER!

Ross, CA


As a first generation Italian-American girl, I started cooking as soon as I could reach the burners. Through high school and college I worked in restaurants until 1987 when, along with my husband, we opened a SF Chronicle 'Best 100' restaurant, Mescolanza. A dozen years and three babies later (traveling the good Italian girl life path) it became clear that something had to give. We decided to keep the kids and say goodbye to the restaurant. It wasn't too long after the sale that I launched my cooking class biz LaCucinaSemplice, the simple Italian kitchen, teaching my wealthy suburban-driving and-dwelling mom pals how to turn on their trophy Viking ranges and whip up some sexy, frothy zabaglione. From that experience came my book, 'The Goodbye Year: wisdom and culinary therapy to survive your child's senior year of high school and reclaim the You of you' (Seal Press 2013)—a mash-up of a memoir, cook book (there are monthly metaphoric and delicious recipes) and DIY self-help aid. Because I know so many restaurant owners, chefs, etc., every once in a while I get sucked back into taking a hard low-paying job. It's a sickness; can't help myself. I love the dance of the herbs on the surface of a hot fry pan, the heft of a pound of dough in my hand, and the alchemy that comes about when we take raw ingredients and create something new to be shared with family and friends. Most recently, I've worked in the kitchens at Insalata's, and Fat Angel, and currently (in the front of the house) at Poggio. I love to cook and entertain and your format intrigues me. For more about me please visit my websites: and Thanks!