Team building, cooking events, catering, parties, and classes in the San Francisco Bay Area

About Us

Our Kitchen

Although we've sold the space, here's some history: The kitchen was built it with group events, both large and small, in mind, but we also made it a full catering kitchen. A great space, it has attracted Top Chef, which used it as the location for it's inaugural season, and Clint Eastwood, who shot scenes for the movie Hereafter. Read more ›



Terry Paulding


Teaching people to cook, and cook well, is where this business had it's beginnings. Terry Paulding, now retired, is a former restaurant cook and culinary school grad, taught adult education classes for many years. As time passed, her students wanted more--to bring their office groups into the kitchen to play and build team spirit, to have parties where everyone cooked, and to have Terry cater their weddings and parties with the same great food they were learning in classes.

The business grew organically. In 2003, after the "old kitchen" ceased to exist (the building was sold, and the kitchen became a model studio for Pixar), Terry searched for a new space. She discovered that there was nothing available with all the right qualities, and that she'd have to build it herself—and with the encouragement of friends and family, the Emeryville kitchen was created, in former warehouse space. Opened in January of 2004, the kitchen is a warm, friendly, clean space that combines lots of room for group work and dining, with a professional catering kitchen set-up. The kitchen was sold in March, 2017, to In the Kitchen Culinary, a company that does similar events to ours.

Tracy Paulding Cates


A few years after the kitchen opened, Terry's daughter Tracy joined the business, and, besides working side-by-side with her mother on events, decided to start a summer camp for kids—and so, Cook! Programs was born. Now, after eight successful summers, and two years of winning "best of" accolades from Parent's Press, our new schedule for 2018 is online and registration has begun, with programs for kids age eight to eighteen, including leadership sessions for teens. The location of the camp is now at Rocket Restaurant Supply in Berkeley.

Tracy grew up in a food-centric family where, before she learned to cook, she learned to love to eat. After leaving home she found herself inextricably drawn to the kitchen, everywhere she went. Armed with a natural sense for food, a love for feeding people, and a keen wanderlust, Tracy cooked her way from the mountains of New Mexico to the city of Kyoto to the bluffs of the Mississippi in Wisconsin and back to her home in the Bay Area (with many stops in between). Tracy's greatest joy is bringing people of all ages together to share in joys of cooking and eating, including her own two children.

Our Philosophy

As a mother-daughter business, we were featured in the American Express Open Forum, an honor we greatly appreciated! The emphasis in all that we created, was on quality. Quality of product, instruction, and presentation. Our menus were collaborative—we value our clients' input, respect their desires, and listen to their objectives. We cultivated relationships with farmers, butchers, our fish wholesaler, and accepted nothing but the best products in the market. We personally shopped the farmer's markets, and always had an eye on what is seasonally at it's best. 

Our crews, both of instructors and culinary event workers, were all professionals with the highest standards. Our kitchen was kept spotlessly clean—we want you to know that we achieved 100% on every county health inspection each year. We contributed to our community, offering our groups the option of cooking an extra dish for the Emeryville Senior Center to serve its client population.

Tracy's commitment to offering the summer camp despite our closing, has led to the 2018 season. Camp is also for sale — she is looking for the right dedicated, positive and motivated buyer, so it can continue despite her having moved out of state.