Malibu Cook’s Tour Gets Ready for 29th Year

A hilltop mansion is one of four houses featured in this year’s Cook’s Tour and may be recognized from music videos, TV shows and more.

Malibu Methodist Nursery School (MMNS) has figured out the secret to successful fundraising: good food, beautiful Malibu homes and bringing together the community. When you combine all of these factors, you get the Malibu Cook’s Tour, which has four Malibu homes gearing up to show off their estates for the 29th year.

Spearheading communication for this year’s event, Yvonne Busch shared about what makes the Cook’s Tour so special.

“My favorite part of working with the Cook’s Tour is definitely to get to know the Malibu community and all the lovely people involved … the homeowners, the caterers, the MMNS school team and the other moms.,” Busch explained. “We work together as a team. The energy is great and it’s done very professionally in only three months of preparation time.”

In three months, Busch and her team found homes that were willing to have 300-400 people walk through, as well as local chefs and restaurants who were willing to 

cook for all of the guests. The self-guided tour begins after attendees pick up their ticket, or “passport,” and then drive from location to location, learning about the homes and sampling food. 

Busch worked closely with Kay Gabbard, director of MMNS, who has organized the Cook’s Tour for each of its 29 years. Proceeds from the event will go toward the school and its scholarship program.

The Malibu chefs who will cook during this year’s tour are Antonio Alessi of Mangia and Tra di Noi, Kathy Escobar from Casa Escobar, Ravi Kalaiyar of LACOCINA and Michelle Jackson of Michelle’s Malibu Meals. 

This year features a tour of a diverse group of homes: a hilltop mansion with noble details, an Indian oasis with an enchanted garden, a healing home with musical roots and a modern Balinese retreat. Each home is owned and lived in by Malibu residents who are opening their doors to allow the nursery and those who purchase tickets to explore inside, sampling on different cuisines as well as learning about the history of each house.

“The generosity of the owners of the four homes is humbling to me because in many cases, we do not know them and they do not know us,” Gabbard shared. “They are simply kind and generous and supportive Malibu folks who understand the benefit of the Cook’s Tour for the Tuition Scholarship Program for our kids and families.”

The hilltop mansion was built in 1996 with a Mediterranean style and was later renovated and expanded in 2000. Each detail within the home has been carefully selected, combining the work of faux painter Morgan “Gypsy Girl” Hard and original art prints by Sydney Majd. The home has served as a setting for music videos, commercials, movies and TV shows, giving it that touch of Malibu movie magic.

The Indian oasis is a colorful place with a hand-painted exterior wall, in shades of orange that reflect the sunset. The home offers a variety of indoor and outdoor seating and dining areas, creating a welcoming warmth for those who visit. From outside, one has views of the Pacific Ocean and from inside, one can look at and learn about the historical, spiritual and artistic relics the homeowners have collected.

The healing home is a Spanish style retreat that offers a flowing waterfall and once was home to a famous saxaphone player. The home was transformed into a healing spa for the musician, who lived here for six years while battling an illness. The details of the healing aspect as imbedded in the turquoise, lava and amber stones, which are embedded in the fireplaces, and the Chumash bowls placed at the entrance.

The Balinese retreat links the love of the ocean and mountains with the island culture of Bali. The garden has been carefully crafted with tropical flora and drought-tolerant succulents, leading to an infinity pool that is open on three sides, giving the illusion of being at the edge of the horizon of the sky and sea. The living room is designed with floor to ceiling, allowing the beauty of Malibu to flow freely throughout the home.

But don’t take our word for it — tour the homes for yourself and sample on cuisine from around the world at this year’s Cook’s Tour, which takes place on May 9 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are available now for $65 at and will be available for purchase the day of the event at Malibu Methodist Nursery School, located at 30128 Morning View Dr., at 10:30 a.m.

“It has always been a goal of Malibu Methodist Nursery School and Infant Center to be a school that reflects the diversity of the society, to make preschool available for anyone who needs us,” Gabbard said. “Without our tour, this would be only a dream.”