Charlotte Capan: Private cooking lessons made to order

Charlotte Capan had already owned a surf shop in Hawaii and managed wholesale sales for Calvin Klein in New York City before she ended up in San Francisco —she says “randomly” — because her then-boyfriend lived here.

The relationship ended, but Capan fell in love with The City instead. Now, she calls it home.

“I love it,” Capan said. “I hope I never leave it. The best restaurants in the world are here.”

Capan is now owner of Le Culinaire Concierge, the San Francisco company she founded in 2004 that provides private cooking lessons, mainly to other businesses as part of team-building exercises and workshops. The company’s 40 trained chefs travel to corporate conference rooms all over the Bay Area, as well as off-site locations, bringing ovens, wine and any implements needed to turn workspaces into kitchens.

“The biggest part of our business is the custom feeling,” Capan said. “We do anything the client is looking for in terms of food. It’s a very consultative business.”

Capan has also developed strategic partnerships and harvested the work of corporate consultants.

In a recent event foreBay, Capan’s team joined with psychological-typing firm Myers-Briggs to generate personality assessments of the eBay staff before the session. Myers-Briggs helped her pair executives at opposite ends of the personality spectrum — extroverts with introverts, for instance. The odd couples performed the cooking tasks together and after the meal said they were surprised at their productivity.

“This is sort of just an added tool to help businesses grow together,” Capan said. “It can be just a fun thing for the company to do or it can really help the teams.”

Capan’s specialty is Italian food, her family’s background. She travels to Italy six times a year to search out fresh ingredients and local recipes. But her cooking instruction features foods from all parts of the world.

Her next project will be the opening of a San Francisco branch of a market in Florence called Conti. Capan, who has worked closely with the Florentine family that owns the market and gained permission to bring their brand stateside, plans to put a kitchen in the store and offer Italian food and wine events.

Trained in the fashion world, Capan’s marketing experience with Calvin Klein got her a job in the technology sector when she came to San Francisco. She worked for AskJeeves.com and a smaller startup, then when the tech boom crashed she went to Spain in search of herself and came back ready to cook.

She started at the California Culinary Academy, working again in marketing. Capan knew she didn’t want to be a chef in a restaurant, and said she sought operational experience to figure out business models involving cooking.

Charlotte Capan

New project: Italian food store in San Francisco

Last project: Setting up strategic partnerships

Number of e-mails per day: 150

Number of voicemails per day: 50

Essential Web site: Google

Best perk: “I get to do what I love”

Gadgets: iPod or wine opener

Education: Fashion Merchandising (undergrad), Brooks College. Business (graduate), Long Beach State

Last conference: Slow Food Convention, Fort Mason

First job: Waitress in pizza restaurant

Original aspiration: cooking

Career objective: Introduce people who don’t cook to the art of it

Hometown: Anoka, Minn.

Sports/hobbies: Tennis, golf

Transportation: Audi

Favorite restaurant: Kokkari

Computer: Dell laptop

Vacation spot: Sardinia

Favorite clothier: Vera Wang

Role model: Grandmother

Reading: “Eat, Pray and Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Worst fear: Losing people close to me

Motivation: To help people who cannot help themselves

businessBusiness & Real Estate

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The City is seeking to enhance health care for San Francisco International Airport workers, which include more than 100 who have tested positive for COVID-19. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Airlines, business groups fight new health insurance requirements for SFO workers

Heathy Airport Ordinance would require companies to offer family coverage or increase contributions

The Hall of Justice building at 850 Bryant St. is notorious for sewage leaks and is known to be seismically unsafe. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD speeding up Hall of Justice exit after another ‘large leak’

San Francisco police can’t get out of the decrepit Hall of Justice… Continue reading

The main entrance to Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Voting rights of seniors, disabled must be protected

Coronavirus pandemic adds new challenges for accessing the polls

The Telegraph Quartet is pictured during its SF Music Day 2020 recording session at the striking, beautifully lit and almost empty Herbst Theatre. (Courtesy Marcus Phillips)
SF Music Day goes virtual with Herbst broadcast

Performers pre-record sets in empty, iconic theater

Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, said Tuesday that student would not be back in school before the end of this calendar year. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Superintendent: City schools will not reopen before the end of the year

San Francisco public schools won’t reopen to students for the rest of… Continue reading

Most Read