Biba Caggiano
1936 - 2019
Restauranteur, cookbook author, TV personality, and our mom, Biba Caggiano, passed away peacefully in the early morning of August 29, 2019, with her family by her side. Born in Bologna, Italy on October 18, 1936, she was the middle child of Antonietta and Leopoldo Bertacchini. Her older brother Gianni and younger sister Carla still live in Bologna with their families. Although she always wanted to be a hairdresser, Mom was working as a bank clerk when she met her husband, Vincent, while he was studying medicine at the University of Bologna. After marrying in Bologna, Dad brought Mom to America where they moved near his family in Great Neck, NY. She continued to work as a clerk in an Italian bank in Manhattan as she began to master the English language. Soon after adopting their daughter, Carla, they moved out west and settled in Sacramento. A few years later, they adopted their second daughter, Paola. Mom missed her hometown so we often trekked to San Francisco, where a thriving Italian community made familiar Italian products readily available. Longing for the food from her country, she took to the kitchen and started recreating the dishes with which she grew up. Thankfully, a trip to Corti Bros. was all she needed to find the proper ingredients, like prosciutto and pancetta. A few dinner parties later and word got out. Soon Mom found herself teaching cooking classes to the local ladies as they hovered around her kitchen island rolling out pasta. Some of our favorite memories are coming home from school to the ladies sipping wine and trading stories around the kitchen table. Cookbooks followed; numerous TV appearances evolved into a cooking show, "Biba's Italian Kitchen;" and finally, the culmination was the opening of Biba Restaurant in 1986. Mom spent her days and nights there, greeting guests, helping customers celebrate special occasions, trading stories with old friends and new, and ultimately, making sure everything was "up to par." After all, as she would say, it was her name on the door. Mom had a contagious energy about her. She cherished her friends and colleagues and loved gathering people around the table, providing nourishment with a delicious meal and great conversation. She was silly, funny and feisty. Whether it was playing doubles tennis at Rio Del Oro or walking on her treadmill, she was always on the go. You would often see her in her chef's jacket walking to work down Folsom Blvd. Even though she may have been little in stature, she was strong in spirit! She survived breast cancer and a hemorrhagic stroke, and over the last several years, suffered from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease. But hers was a life well-lived. She was a passionate, strong-willed woman and she was our idol. She will be missed tremendously! Mom leaves a legacy of love. She recently celebrated 59 years of marriage with our dad. She taught us, as her daughters, to be strong, self-sufficient, and compassionate. She adored her sons-in-law, Tim and Brian; her grandchildren, Andrew (19), Alexander (17), Aidan (17), Will (14), Lucy (11), and Jack (9); and all of her "kids" at Biba Restaurant. A mass will be held in celebration of Biba's life on Monday, September 30, 2019 at 10:00 am at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, 1017 11th Street, Sacramento. A reception will follow at the Annunciation Hellenic Center, 616 Alhambra Blvd. Biba participated in a number of charitable organizations and events. To honor her and in lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to a charity close to your heart.
Published by The Sacramento Bee on Sep. 15, 2019.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
Funeral Mass
Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
1017 11th Street, Sacramento, CA
Add a Message

Not sure what to say?

20 Entries
Was a huge fan of your mom´s cooking show! In 1995 while pregnant with my 1st child we traveled to The area and had dinner at Biba. Still to date our best meal! Your mom even signed my cookbook and talked to us for quite some time. Our condolences from our family to yours.
Pam & Scott Bussell
September 21, 2021
Biba came to mind today as I was looking over my cookbooks. I hope her loved ones read this and feel love. Long ago in 1995 I was pregnant with twins, my first pregnancy. It was considered a high-risk pregnancy and my husband and I were so worried. I was required to be on bed rest for more than 7 months. During that long concerning time the only thing I could focus my concentration on was TV; as an avid reader I would always choose a book over TV. One of my favorite TV shows was Biba's cooking show, it was a highlight of my day and took my mind off of my dire worries about my pregnancy. Fortunately, I made it through those long months with Biba and my dear husband. May you rest in peace dear Biba and thank you for helping this young mother (at the time) endure the fear of an uncertain pregnancy. My identical twin boys were born in 1996 and my life was changed forever; they are healthy young, successful men today. I love that about life. One never knows when one might affect another's life through a kindness and bring strength. From my many Biba cookbooks I enjoy cooking recipes for my beloved family. RIP Biba.
Laura Hill
July 14, 2021
I don't know why, but today I thought about Biba -- for no reason other than I wanted to make the pancetta-wrapped roasted pork loin in one of her cookbooks that I so fondly remember from watching her show. Back in 1998, I was visiting San Francisco with two cookbooks I brought from NY (one was hers, the other was Carlo Meddione's). I rented a car with my ex-husband and made our way to Sacramento because I was determined to meet her. Luckily she was at the restaurant that day, and graciously came to our table to say hello after I inquired about her. She spoke with us, signed my book, and asked me if I was Italian because of the perfect way she said I pronounced the meal I ordered -- the best compliment! My condolences and I think tonight i will make that pork loin in her honor.
Abby Duran
June 12, 2021
I came to know Biba through her TV shows. It was at a very difficult time in my life, but the time I spent watching and learning gave me a very needed distraction. WIth her gentleness and wisdom, not just about cooking but her stories also, I always found hope and comfort. I am so sorry to hear of her passing. Condonlences to all affected by her passing. Blessings
cynthia mctaggart
April 14, 2020
I just learned of sweet Biba's passing and an so saddened by this news. I so loved watching her on TV do her wonderful cooking. She made it look so easy. Her happy personality made it a joy to tune in. I bought her cook books and made some of her delicious recipes. She reminded me so much of my cousin, Dahlia, who was born in Italy and came to NJ at age 7. They looked a bit alike and had that same sunny personality.
We just lost her at age 80 on 12/16/19. She led a wonderful life with her husband of over 50 years, 5 children and 15 grandchildren. She's at peace now with her husband in heaven.
My condolences to Biba's family. May she rest peacefully in Gods loving arms.
Barbara Rucci
December 26, 2019
As a young housewife, I watched Biba's Italian Kitchen while my children napped. For Christmas, my husband bought my prized luna mezza because Biba had used one so frequently. 26 years later it's still hanging on my kitchen wall. To this day I tell everyone that Biba taught me how to cook. I learned of her passing while searching her monkfish recipe for tonight's dinner. She's made such an impact on so many like myself and I'm deeply saddened that she's no longer here. My condolences to her family and may they be comforted in knowing how many people she's blessed.
Kelly Mercaldo
November 7, 2019
Dear Caggiano family, I was a student in Sac when Biba burst onto the restaurant scene with style and panache. And oh, the food. We will always love her. We will miss her. Thanks for all the memories.
October 22, 2019
I am glad to meet such a loving, sincere, and generous chef, mother, wife, and perfectionist, yes and a excellent cook. It was always a pleasure to dine at her exceptional restaurant. We both are Libras, you shall be missed, but never forgotten. Rest in Paradise. Always with Love.
Carlette Strachan
October 11, 2019
October 3, 2019
October 3, 2019
October 3, 2019
October 3, 2019
It was always wonderful to be in her presence at Biba's. We always looked forward to seeing her even if for only a few minutes. Truly a great lady. Rev. David A. Peters and James Viegas (Table 51)
September 29, 2019
Our heartfelt condolences to Dr. Caggiano and her entire family. My husband and I worked with Dr. Caggiano and took great pleasure dining at her restaurant and visiting with her and Dr. C. whenever we could. The far reach of her impact in the community of Sacramento and nationwide will inspire others to love and appreciate Italian cooking forever. God bless her and her family. What a tremendous role model she was for her family and so many! May the saints in Heaven receive her soul with joy and my His perpetual light always shine upon her.
Lori Hemmingsen-Souza
September 19, 2019
Bruce Arbuckle
September 18, 2019
A Beautiful Woman in every sense of the word. I am so glad to have known her. Rest In Peace Biba. Eleanor e Nolan
Eleanore Nolan
September 18, 2019
What a classy lady! She will be missed.
Mary Zimmerman
September 18, 2019
Dear Biba
We will miss your presence terribly every time we walk in the door of the restaurant. But, please know, dear family, we will still be coming as long as it has your name on the door, because we know you are still keeping your eye on things!
Elizabeth & Larry Petzold
September 16, 2019
Biba was an accomplished and skilled restaurant host. She greeted my sister and me graciously, with genuine hospitality at Sis's birthday dinner. We were impressed how kindly she spoke with us. May she rest in peace.
Donna Fairchild
September 16, 2019
What a beautiful lady. I will miss her at Biba's
September 15, 2019
Showing 1 - 20 of 20 results