Terra Tamai left the Central Coast and her catering company, Terra T Catering, in 2000, returning to school seeking a degree in hospitality. She began working as a personal chef, serving clients throughout the Santa Barbara and Ventura areas and created A Cruising Gourmet, “cruising” into her clients' kitchens and cooking several days’ worth of food for their families to be enjoyed at their leisure.  She worked at several B&B’s and inns, finally working her way up to the positon of executive chef at the prestigious Simpson House Inn in Santa Barbara, boasting the title of the only 5 Diamond Inn in North America.

Born out of the love and desire to provide delicious, healthy food in a unique environment, Chef Terra took her love of traveling, the ocean, and hospitality to a new level and A Cruising Gourmet began a different type of cruising, as she began providing fun-filled gourmet cruises throughout the Channel Islands and Mexico.

Retiring in a small and remote enclave in Mexico, Chef Terra spent her time learning a very different culture, and enjoyed the diversity of the people and food offerings to be found in such a remote and unsophisticated area. Those influences are still evident in her hospitality and cooking style today.

Traveling on vacation to the San Juan Islands  in the Pacific Northwest revealed a new adventure that she excitedly approached head on.  Chef Terra returned to her home in Mexico, packed her belongings, and moved to the astonishingly beautiful town of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington.  Purchasing a remote cottage on 5 acres in the woods, she began plans to build the B&B of her dreams, only to be confronted with unsurmountable obstacles in the process.  She had moved there not knowing a soul, and became fast friends with her consultant as he tried to help her with the daunting permitting process.  While the project was scrapped, the two ended up marrying, providing a totally new and different journey.

After adventuring for over 14 years, Chef Terra has returned home to the Central Coast, sharing her favorite place with her wonderful husband and partner.  Her delightful husband has brought his consulting business with him, and she has returned to her love of entertaining and cooking, and is once again providing her clients with passion and inimitable dedication, and proof that there really is no place like home.

Terra's Story

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"Learn how to cook -- try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless and above all have fun."

Julia Child