Celebrity Chef. Author. Mogul.

Jan 25, 2012 No Comments

Twenty years ago Sabra Ricci took a leap of faith by moving to Hawaii to pursue a career as a chef. That decision along with her healthy delectable menus and outstanding service brought her the success she has today as a private chef who has worked with numerous celebrities including Orlando Bloom, Cher and Julia Roberts. But no matter how much she has achieved through her work, Ricci told Interviewher.com that other factors such as family and building relationships helped her attain success.

Ricci’s passion for cooking began as a child. She learned how to cook from her grandfather. “In our big Italian family, my grandfather was the main cook. He did every Sunday dinner,” Ricci explained, “I spent a lot of time with him and he was really my inspiration in cooking.”

The renowned chef attended the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco where she was one of very few women. Following her schooling she worked in San Francisco and Napa Valley. Ricci was offered a job at a Four Seasons resort on a private island just off of Maui. Moving away from family with a young daughter to Hawaii was what she referred to as a “leap of faith” that turned out to be the first step to success. “It was a job I admired. As a result of that I ended up falling in love with the island and decided to relocate to Maui,” Ricci explained. Soon she began working at a yoga retreat on the island where she prepared dietary menus including gluten free and vegan. “I knew I wanted to work with health and nutrition and I wanted to help people,” she said.

Ricci began getting calls from travel agents who wanted her services as a private chef for some celebrities who vacationed in Maui. In 1997 she worked with her first celebrity client, Courtney Cox, just as the TV show Friends was becoming popular. Cox’s agent began recommending Ricci to other clients and her career evolved from there.

At the time freelancing as a chef was uncommon. “I’m sort of a pioneer in that area,” she said, “Being independent, resourceful, and always curious. I think that’s one of the keys to a successful life to be curious, be constantly learning, and doing new things.”

The biggest challenge Ricci faced in her years a chef was when her daughter left home for college. “It was always me and her,” she said. Making the adjustment to not having her daughter around was difficult, but the change also allowed her to develop a relationship with Ferenc, her husband of four years. “I think you really have to have a balance. Work is really important, but having a personal life is important also. That’s something women should really pay attention to because at the end of your life you don’t just think abut the great job. You will think about the people in your life who made it special,” Ricci explained.

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Ricci and her husband run Cookin Productions based in Maui. They travel and offer services such as catering and preparing menus for events ranging from intimate to gala dinners for 200 guests. Ricci’s newest accomplishment Lobsters for Leo, Cookies for Capricorn: An Astrology Lover’s Cookbook hit bookstores at the beginning of January. The entertaining and informative book combines Ricci’s love for cooking and interest in astrology. It contains recipes and recommendations for each astrological sign, such as brain boosting dishes Aries and stress-reducing foods for Virgos who are known to be perfectionists. Ricci has been featured in many magazines and continues to do guest appearances on TV segments. For Ricci, it is not just about being successful as a chef, she has also been able to form relationships with her clients and have an impact on people.

The next big thing Ricci plans to work on is a foundation for young women, especially those who experience struggles such as teen pregnancy. “I just really want to start giving back in that way, like mentoring young women and helping them believe that they can do anything,” Ricci explained, “you can do anything, you just have to know what you want. Follow your dream. Follow your star.”


Written by: Erica Mink





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