Our Kitchen

The kitchen, centrally located to the entire San Francisco Bay Area, is a very flexible space. We 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.


Want to bring 100 people in to cook together? We can accommodate the event with a cocktail-party format. Want a venue for a catered dinner for 70 guests? We can block off the kitchen and create an intimate space for you. If you and a dozen (or four or five dozen) friends want to make a meal together, we are happy to set the tables for you and lead the cooking event. Need catering for 200 off-site? We can do that, too. We offer a lot of great cooking classes as well—with local, professional chef-teachers. From Italian to Ethiopian to Cooking School Basics and butchery, knife sharpening and whatever you desire, we offer the class or will try to find a teacher and more students to accommodate your desires.

Terry Paulding


Teaching people to cook, and cook well, is where this business had it’s beginnings. Terry Paulding, 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.

Tracy Paulding


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 three successful summers, the the schedule for our fourth is online and registration has begun, with programs for kids age nine to eighteen, including leadership sessions for teens.

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.

Our Philosophy

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

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