The Hosts of Tuscan Women Cook!
Successful careers spanning decades—✔
Kids grown and launched—✔
Ready for a new adventure—ABSOLUTELY!
All roads lead to Tuscany for Rhonda Vilardo and Coleen Kirnan. They were at similar places in their lives when they first met to discuss ownership of Tuscan Women Cook. Both women shared an intense passion for cooking, entertaining, meeting new people and travel. Coleen and Rhonda were both at career crossroads, ready for change and intrigued at the possibility of a bold challenge. The idea of forging a business that encompasses all their favorite pursuits was just too perfect to pass up.
Theirs is a story of an extraordinary mid-life dream come true.
Rhonda spent nearly two decades traveling the world as a private label cosmetics director. Her love for food and travel brought her to Tuscan Women Cook in 2006 as a vacationer, anxious to immerse herself in Italian food and culture. Her experience at Tuscan Women Cook was so impactful that she signed up to return the following year and returned yet again in 2014 thinking it would be her last chance to experience the program before it was sold. She also wanted her mother and daughter to experience the program, and it was the perfect graduation trip for her daughter. It was during that trip that Rhonda seriously contemplated taking over Tuscan Women Cook from founders Bill and Patty Sutherland. She had become close friends with them through her husband and when she learned they were selling the business, Rhonda spent 6 weeks in 2015 with Tuscan Women Cook as a host to see if it would be good fit for her next career move.
As a successful commercial real estate business owner (Kirnan Commercial, Inc.), Coleen represented top tier companies in multi-million dollar-real estate transactions for over 30 years. But the role Coleen treasures most is as a mom to Hayley (20), Sean (19) and two giant, unruly Labradors. As kids do, Hayley and Sean have grown up and out of the house (the labs are still lurking around). So with the blessing of Steve, her loving husband of 25 years, Coleen decided to leave her thriving business to share ownership in Tuscan Women Cook. This daring leap illustrates fearless reinvention and bold self-confidence, qualities that have been the hallmark of Coleen’s success, personally and professionally. As Coleen leaves her thriving business to share ownership in Tuscan Women Cook, she approaches her new partnership with ebullient enthusiasm and unparalleled excitement, relishing the opportunity to jump openhearted into this new business venture with Rhonda.
Rhonda and Coleen are getting ready to host their first of two annual 6 week stays in 2016 in Montefollonico, a picturesque Tuscan village filled with history, culture and home to many of the very best cooks in Tuscany. This is the home base for Tuscan Women Cook. Each week, Rhonda and Coleen will welcome guests from around the world to live, breath and cook as the locals do. “This is the very best part of our job,” said Rhonda. “The chance to immerse our guests in the true Tuscan lifestyle; cooking in rustic kitchens with women who are preparing recipes that have been passed down from generations of family cooks, shopping for produce at the local farmer’s market and visiting local vineyards for a complete life-changing, Italian culinary experience.”
Meeting fascinating people from all over the world is another glorious perk for Rhonda and Coleen. “Tuscan Women Cook attracts a wide range of international guests looking for a relaxed, all inclusive vacation filled with new learning experiences. I especially like the wide range of guests we attract,” said Coleen. “We have married couples who fall in love all over again right in front of our eyes. We also book quite a few multi-generational family reunions along with gaggles of girlfriends, school reunions and the LGBT community looking for a great getaway.” Guests of all ages often refer to Tuscan Women Cook as the ultimate “Bucket List” adventure.
“Tuscan Women Cook is also ideal for single travelers,” says Rhonda. “It’s the perfect way to travel alone without being alone. Many of our guests forge deep and lasting friendships and so do we.” One of Rhonda’s holiday party guests was a Tuscan Women Cook guest who flew from Boston to Los Angeles for the festivities.
Rhonda and Coleen enthusiastically invite you to join them on their extraordinary journey. Cook delicious, authentic Italian cuisine, make new friends and create memories that will last a lifetime with Tuscan Women Cook.
Click here for a sample daily schedule of our Tuscany cooking school.