Sabra, pronounced SAY-bra, attributes her Italian heritage and a strong family cooking tradition to shaping her destiny from childhood. She grew up in the Sacramento Valley where she learned to cook from her maternal grandfather George, a pioneer in the kitchen for his unique creations, as well as his role as the primary family cook in a time and culture where cooking was typically a woman’s role. It was his influence that solidified Sabra’s decision to pursue a culinary career early on.
A graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco, Ricci served her externship at Napa Valley’s legendary Tra Vigne restaurant, working for founding chef Michael Chiarello. She worked in Paris for Yes Catering Company – whose events included parties for Michael Jackson, the Paris Polo Club and Lancôme, and lunches at the Louvre; and later as the consulting chef for Grail Springs Spa in Canada.
Her experiences in the Napa Valley, Paris, and Canada had a profound impact on Sabra’s culinary style, but it was her move to Maui nearly 20 years ago and her first job on the island as the chef at the former Mana Lea Gardens Yoga Retreat Center that gave her expertise with special diets, something that makes her sought after by some of the biggest names in Hollywood and others with special dietary needs – everything from vegan, wheat-free, gluten-free, and casein-free diets to low-carb, food-combining, and other extreme diets.