For thirty years the Godmother of Malibu has cooked up menus for wedding dinners, birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, anniversaries, holidays, memorials and just plain lunch for Malibuites. For many years, the café occupied a busy corner at a shopping center in the Civic Center. Now it's tucked away in the patio at the Malibu Racquet Club, but longtime locals know that the tomato bisque soup and the family atmosphere is the same. "I love Malibu, it's been very good to me," Godmother owner Dolores Rivellino told the Malibu Surfside News in a recent interview at the cafe's garden patio. "I'm lucky. I've been blessed with good friends, family and community."
Rivellino, a native New Yorker who was an administrator at the Jules Stein eye clinic at UCLA before putting her talents as a culinary entrepreneur to work in 1980, says that she had no idea the Godmother would still be going strong after 30 years. "It was a temporary thing," she says. I wanted a change after I left UCLA."
A lifelong love of food led to her new career. "My mother never bought a can of peas or a package of prepared food," Rivellino told The News. "Everything was made from scratch." The Godmother has continued that tradition for 30 years. "I'm very satisfied to have what we have, to have done what we've done," Rivellino says. "People whose weddings we catered, we've done anniversaries for them, christenings, birthdays, and graduation parties, sometimes even funerals. These people have become family."
According to Rivellino, the Godmother has provided feasts--and good advice--to accompany more than 400 weddings in the past 30 years, as well as catering to the culinary requirements of everyday life in Malibu. "I feel blessed," she says.
After a 3-year run as chef/owner of Terra Restaurant, and great success with his gourmet food truck, Cal~Fresco, chef Chris and his wife Kristine Bocchino have found a new home in Malibu to collaborate with The Godmother for brunch, desserts, and catering events. Chef Chris Bocchino is a graduate of CIA in Hyde Park, New York--the most respected culinary institute in the country.
In Terra style, Chris has planted his vegetable garden to serve up his seasonal, homegrown goods. It's a match made in 'food heaven.'
Kristine, a professional pastry chef and restaurant manager who grew up in Paradise Cove, owns Cal~Fresco Desserts, which supplies the Godmother Cafe and other restaurants in Malibu, with delicious pastries, in addition to helping out at the café.
Cal~Fresco's basic idea to serve California cuisine "Alfresco Style" lends itself beautifully to The Godmother environment already surrounded by the Santa Monica Mountains, lush greenery, and garden space for wild herbs and vegetables to grow freely.
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