"Real food, prepared lovingly, with intention, pleases more than just our taste buds; it deeply nourishes our souls...this is what we are truly craving." Barbara Zagata

Having cooked from the south of France to the west coast, from restaurants to grade schools, Barbara Zagata has established a reputation for irresistible comfort food and earth friendly values. With over 25 years experience in the kitchen Barbara’s big picture view of the culinary world transforms what is often overwhelming into something truly empowering.

Her latest program, Camp Cucina, is a culinary crash course for young adults, designed around the particular needs of the college student. Unlike your average home economics course, the focus is on the joy and synergy inherent in the creative process.

Barbara worked for other caterers for over 15 years before beginning her own business in 1999, Santa Barbara Soul Food. Designing menus not based upon “cost per bite” led to some amazing results (think, standing ovation). Barbara’s experiences have led her to believe it’s not really about the numbers, the calories, the fat grams or the price per person; it’s about the energy in the food.
At its inception, Santa Barbara Soul Food’s mission has been to encourage connection. Over time her passionate expression and playful spirit have drawn a younger audience.
In 2001 she began teaching the joys of cooking to grade school children. The kids loved it! Before long they were making soup for the entire school.
This led to Soup for Supper Sunday School in which children made Sunday dinners for their families…and the parents loved it! The children were so proud of their accomplishments as they shared their new expertise over Sunday dinner.
By request, Barbara began an after school class, Cooking from the Heart. Once again, connecting with others was the key to success.
During the summer of 2004 two high school students asked Barbara if she could teach them to cook before they left for college. After interviewing recent college graduates Barbara narrowed down her vast collection of recipes to those that are most easily prepared, cost-effective and fabulous…and they loved it!

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