"I took on a new division at work and wanted to come up with a way to bring my two divisions together, so they could get to know each other better. A team building cooking class with Viva Cucina was the best way to accomplish this. My staff of 35 really got to spend some quality time together, which created a better working environment. Viva Cucina did all the work, so we just showed up with our appetite and eagerness to cook. I was impressed how well Barbara managed the class, having my staff prepare the food and serving it to 35 people at once. My staff enjoyed cooking and eating the food so much, that they have been bragging about it at work for weeks."
- United Grocers, Livermore
"I took on a new job and wanted to get to know my staff better, so I booked a dinner class at Viva Cucina, at my house. We prepared a four course meal that was delicious and easy to do. I wasn’t sure everyone would enjoy doing this, but they did. It was nice not having to worry about the meal and getting to spend informal time with my new staff. The culinary staff took care of all the details for me, making it a great evening for everyone."
- Barclays, San Francisco
"The hors ‘d oeuvre and wine pairing class with my staff, at my house, was great. They made four hors ‘d oeuvres that were so filling and delicious. We then got to sample four wines with our meal that were new and tasty. Barbara works with a sommelier friend to pair the wines with our food. She even brought the wine glasses, as I didn’t have enough for 20 people. This was one of the most fun evenings I have had with my staff and we will definitely do this again."
- Cisco Systems, San Francisco
"I wanted a place to energize my staff and to talk about our goals for the new year. We began our meeting with a slide presentation from my three direct reports to the team in Viva Cucina’s living room. It was a nice casual atmosphere to accomplish this goal. We then went to the kitchen and prepared our dinner, cooking in teams. The food was delicious and easy to prepare. The best part was that we didn’t have to do the dishes. During dessert we passed out the annual staff awards and Viva Cucina allowed us to stay there as long as we needed to. It was a great evening!"
- Bank of the West, Walnut Creek
"Viva Cucina is a great place to hold your staff meetings, then end the meeting with a cooking class. We arrived at 9:00 am to conduct our three hour brainstorming session in the living room. Then at noon, we went to the kitchen to conduct our cooking class. It was a great relaxing atmosphere for our meeting and very beneficial to team building and brainstorming. The Chicken Piccata we prepared was the best ever."
- Valent, Walnut Creek
"I wanted a unique way to spend our office holiday party. Restaurants can be noisy and not conducive to mingling. I booked my office holiday party with Viva Cucina for my staff of 30 and they loved it. Viva Cucina handled everything and Barbara was great to work with. Her staff were very attentive, the food delicious and her place is so big and roomy, which made us feel very comfortable, which is what I was looking for. I would definitely recommend these classes to others."
- Bryant Surveys, San Ramon
"We booked our staff Christmas luncheon here. When we went to the house for a site visit we were impressed with how beautiful and roomy Barbara’s home is. I can see why people enjoy their events here. She has a big backyard for outdoor entertaining and cooking. I can’t wait to take a grilling class from Viva Cucina in the summer. The 12 of us had a great time. It was nice being together in a private setting, and we got to take our time cooking and eating. The food was absolutely delicious. We would do this again, hopefully soon."
- Chevron, San Ramon
"I had my bachelorette party at Viva Cucina. Barbara customized the menu for us so we could have a champagne and dessert party. The fifteen of us made three different chocolate desserts, then sat down and ate them while drinking champagne, opening gifts and having a blast. It was so much fun and delicious."
- Ellen, Pleasanton
"We had our bridal shower at Viva Cucina for 25 and we made a lemon and roasted asparagus risotto, grilled spicy prawns, spring salad and lemon mouse parfait dessert. The meal was so yummy. I love how at the end of the class our kitchen was clean, with no signs of any cooking. Barbara and her staff bring all of their own equipment to make sure the recipes can be prepared accordingly and so they don’t have to use my awful pots and pans. She even provided the dishes, flatware and wine glasses…..such a help for our event. We loved it!"
- Debby, Alamo
"This is the second time I have had a class at Viva Cucina. My friends and I love learning new recipes and enjoy the time together without the kids. The food was delicious and we love that we can sit down and enjoy the meal at the dining room table. Viva Cucina has a beautiful kitchen, dining room and living room, making you feel at home, instead of being in a stuffy restaurant or having one couple hosting the dinner and doing all the work."
- Christine, Walnut Creek
"We like booking our classes in the summer at Viva Cucina because we get to use the backyard Bar-B-Que to cook our meal. I have been afraid of using the grill, but Barbara gave us a great class and actual hands-on techniques in using the grill for meats, vegetables and bread. Now I don’t hesitate to use my indoor or outdoor grill."
- Natalie, San Ramon
"Viva Cucina has a great menu selection for hosting a dinner party at my house. I was so excited to learn that Barbara enjoys cooking and preparing a dinner for me and my 19 guests for my sister’s birthday party. I didn’t want to host her party at a restaurant, and I didn’t want to do all the cooking, serving and clean up myself. So I hired Barbara and her staff to prepare the meal at my house. Her staff served the food and cleaned up my kitchen before they left. This was much better than using a catering company where they just drop off the food for me to serve. At my party I was able to enjoy myself, and my guests raved about the food."
- Carrie, Alamo
"Viva Cucina’s new cooking class series enlists the aid of San Ramon Valley chefs. Eating your favorite restaurant entrée can be like watching a David Copperfield trick: The food tastes magical, but you wish you knew how the chef did it. In Viva Cucina’s new cooking class series, The Chef’s Table, premier San Ramon Valley restaurant chefs show you the tricks of their trade. “This is a unique opportunity for people to meet their local restaurant chefs in a casual atmosphere and learn some great cooking tips,” says Viva Cucina owner Barbara Kelly, who runs cooking classes in the professional kitchen she designed in her Danville home. Viva Cucina’s private Chef’s Table classes are interactive: Students watch and ask questions, as the chef prepares entrées and explains his techniques. Participants then sit down with the chef to a four-course dinner and sip wines poured by a local boutique winery. This month’s classes feature Amber Bistro’s Shane Hammett, preparing herb-crusted pork tenderloin with a port reduction sauce; Patrick Schoolcraft of Patrick David’s, creating beef tenderloin with a red wine and truffle reduction and roasted three-color seasonal squash; and Mangia Mi’s Peter Cedolini, demonstrating how to make osso buco, an Italian dish of braised veal shank served with saffron risotto. Livermore’s Longevity Wines will pair its wines with the entrées."
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- Natalie, San Ramon
"Barbara worked with me to create a whole meal for my family. I chose a meal from her menu collection and the two of us worked together to create the four course meal. She taught me great cooking techniques that I use all the time now. She really knows how to explain the cooking process for me to understand, so I am able to do it again without her."
- Dana, Danville
"What I liked most about my class was that Barbara agreed to meet me at the grocery store and walk me around the store, explaining the various differences in ingredients for my recipes we were cooking later that day. That was so valuable to me, as I am not comfortable with shopping. I asked her a million questions about other ingredients in the store as we walked the isles. She is very knowledgeable and did a good job explaining the differences between ingredients. I can truly say, I will now be able to prepare this meal at home."
- Darell, San Francisco
"My 14 year old daughter and I booked a few one-on-one classes with Barbara. The first one was learning to make the famous French dish, Beef Bourguignon. My daughter saw the movie Julie and Julia, then wanted to make it. So we booked a class with Barbara and the three of use created that dish, then sat down and ate it. It was so delicious and easy to do. I could not have ventured through this recipe without Barbara’s knowledge and skills. She really helped us enjoy preparing this dish."
- Lisa and Sara, Danville
"My daughters and I wanted to learn how to prepare and roast a 20 lb turkey, as this was our first time to host thanksgiving dinner at our house. We also wanted to learn how to make gravy and mashed potatoes. Barbara made this learning process so easy for us rookies to learn. Her recipes are spelled out in steps and very easy to follow. We created a delicious lemon herb seasoning for the turkey, she showed us how to make a delicious gravy without using the turkey drippings, so we could have it ready when the turkey was ready and she showed us how to keep the mashed potatoes hot until dinner was ready. This class was very informative for us and I loved learning her techniques for creating a delicious meal and easy entertaining. The gravy got rave reviews from our thanksgiving guests. Thanks Barbara!"
- Lisa, Sara and Shelby, Danville
"I had my nine year olds birthday party at Viva Cucina. My daughter loves to cook and watches the Food Network. I took her to see Viva Cucina’s Kitchen and to meet Barbara. Viva Cucina has a great Kids menu and I was so impressed with the way the staff worked with the girls to create a fun three course meal that the kids loved. The atmosphere at Viva Cucina is so inviting and informal."
- Lisa, Danville
"My 13 year old daughter had her birthday party at Viva Cucina. I couldn’t believe how eager they were to fix their own meal and dessert. I am so proud of her for this achievement and her friends said they had a great time too. The menu is simple yet delicious and easy for them to prepare. They got to sit down and enjoy their meal and open the presents. Having an event at Viva Cucina was much easier than having it at my house."
- Anne, Alamo
"My 13 year old daughter enjoys watching the Food Network and loves cooking. She even helps me prepare dinner sometimes. So when I found Viva Cucina, I booked a class with them and had a great experience. My daughter’s friends were not experienced at cooking, but when they worked together to prepare their recipe with the culinary staff, they did very well. My daughter is making these recipes at home now and we love it."
- Daniel, Diablo
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