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Shelley and Rick grew up in the Bay Area and opened Cucina Bambini in April 2008 to fulfill their dream of creating a fun and unique business that they can build together. They have two teenage children, Ryan and Maddie, both of whom have loved helping in the kitchen since they were toddlers.

In 1997 Shelley and Rick founded Ballard Montessori School, which they grew to have an enrollment of over 100 students in less than two years and operated for nearly 10 years. Opening Cucina Bambini was a great way to build on this experience by combining their love for cooking with Shelley's background in education and business. Shelley can be found at Cucina nearly every day, running the business and working in the kitchen, and Rick helps when he can (when he's not working his day job as general counsel of local software company.)

We hope you have an opportunity to experience cooking at Cucina Bambini!

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My name is Carissa Basuini and I have been working at Cucina Bambini since we opened. Ever since I was little, I have spent countless hours in the kitchen cooking with my Sicilian Nonna, which is where I have learned almost all of my kitchen skills. When not in the kitchen, I am often found at school (San Jose State University), where I am studying child development, or spending time with my wonderful family (including my four brothers) and friends.

Working at Cucina Bambini is an absolute blast, there are so many great aspects of this job. I especially love the kids'summer camps and series classes because we really get to know the kids and have so much fun together. My favorite classes are the cupcake workshops, I love decorating the cupcakes and watching the kids get creative as they decorate their own.

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My name is Nicole Grammatico. I've had the best experience working at Cucina Bambini. I've been working at Cucina since it opened and I've loved every second of it. I grew up in a Sicilian family so I have been helping in the kitchen as long as I can remember. I am attending college to receive my degree in Business and Nutrition. I love to spend my free time with my family and friends and when I'm not in the kitchen, I enjoy the outdoors.


Everyday at work I learn something new. What I enjoy most is getting to meet new people and learning new experiences. I really enjoy teaching the young kids because they get so excited to learn something new. I have learned so much working at Cucina Bambini and wouldn't change a thing.

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As a second generation Sicilian, I was born with pizza sauce in my blood. I have acquired basic cooking skills over the years by watching my parents and grandparents cook delicious family meals. I have been an instructor at Cucina Bambini for over 2 years now and enjoy working with my Cucina Bambini family. My main focus is having fun, I want every child to enjoy their time at Cucina Bambini, but also learn how to make some dinner for mom and dad. I love working with kids because I am just one big kid myself, and when I'm not in the kitchen at Cucina Bambini I am at home working on my cars or out in the mountains off-roading.

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My name is Richelle Gali. I am currently a nursing student at San Jose State University. I plan on receiving my masters so I can start my career as a nurse practitioner. I hope to build an organization specifically aimed at under privileged children to provide them with the healthcare they deserve and show them how to live happy and healthy. Other than being a nerd at school, I love being with my family and friends, pampering myself with shopping and a mani-pedi, and jogging with my lovable golden retriever. Also I love the excitement of competing in beauty pageants. I have to admit, there are times where I’ve seen pageants live up to that stereotypic expectation, but participating in them has blessed me with confidence, long lasting friendships and memories I will cherish forever.

I have been told that if you love what you do then you’ll never have to work a day in your life. I have been blessed with the best job ever. I get to work with kids of all ages and share my passion for cooking with them. After a party or class, the look of a child’s face when they taste the final product that they made themselves is priceless and I am grateful to be a part of that. It can get a little crazy with hungry kids running around but in the end it’s all worth it. At Cucina, kids, teens, and even adults learn that it’s not all about the final product, but it’s about the fun process of making a fabulous meal.

And Remember…World Peace :)

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I'm Katie and I am an employee at Cucina Bambini. I lead birthday parties and help with classes. I have worked at Cucina for just over a year and have loved every minute of it! I enjoy making and preparing food espically more traditional American foods due to my southern roots. I have been babysitting since I was 12 and am very fond of children and love teaching classes. I'm currently a freshman at the University of Alabama studying public relations with a minor in marketing, and will return to Cucina this summer!

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