The summer of 2000, when I was 20 years old (the summer before my last year in college), I stayed in Los Angeles to be closer to my sisters, and I landed a job as an Executive Assistant to one of the busiest people I’ve ever met. I don’t know if he’d appreciate me stating his name, so I’ll keep referring to him as “he”… I helped him with all his businesses, on the phone, tracking bills and doing a bunch of other miscellaneous stuff. He is the owner/president of Beverly Hills Porsche and Audi, and he also owned a yacht manufacturing company, an amplifier company, and a few properties around the country. He wanted to own businesses that tailored to all age groups and he did. He was able to start his businesses by saving up capital from his former career as a former junior partner at the top New York law firm in his time, then he was David Bowie’s manager for some time. He was the busiest person I knew at that time in my life, very charismatic, at times a big a–hole, and a great business person. I was enthrawled by him and I wanted some of his ways and habits to rub off on me. Although he was about 20 years older than me, he and I became great friends and we remained friends while I went back to Santa Cruz for school, up until I found a boyfriend up there and lost touch… but we still chat every other year or so now.
It was from him that I learned so much about life, people, myself, delicious food, art, wine, and culture. He was raised in Bloomsfield, Michigan, went to the exclusive Cranbook School. He claims to have once been a modern dancer. In high school, during soccer practice, a group of girls in the dance group asked if any of the guys wanted to join their group, since they needed the strength of males to dance. He decided to join them. I believe in college, he was in a band and not sure if he was kidding with me or not, he said he started college majoring in dance. He went to some university in Colorado for undergrad, then moved to Hawaii to surf while making a living working at a pineapple canning plant. After about a year of surfing, he got his act together, went to Emory University for law school, moved to New York, made junior partner at the top law firm there, then moved to Los Angeles to be David Bowie’s manager. He was with Jack Lemmon’s daughter for many years, and during that time would have Sunday dinners with the Lemmon family. He asked Jack’s chef how to prepare some of his favorite foods, then he passed the recipes on to me. The origins of the swordfish and asparagus and peppers recipes come from Jack’s kitchen. It was through this friend of mine that I learned about and tasted the different wines around the world. I also learned where the best restaurants in California were because his step-mother, who he was close with, had a brother that was an acclaimed food writer. Other interesting tid bits- his mother’s husband was the guy that invented the pasteurizing of eggs and his father was the judge/attorney that wrote the law on making right turns at a red light. Because of his father, we can all make right turns once we stop and yield on red lights.
I bring up my friend because without him, I wouldn’t have been introduced to the food that has changed my life. Because of him, I ate lunch during that summer at Lucques and at Geoffreys in Malibu. Because of chefs like Suzanne Goin, the owner/chef of Lucques, I experienced the sensations of delicious food. This is why I love to cook, make discoveries in the kitchen, and am in culinary school. I want to make delicious food and effect others similarly. To me, eating delicious yet simple food is a big part of living.
Nonfood-related, another thing I learned from my friend was, if you purchase art for your walls, you’d might as well purchase art that will be worth something someday. Growing up, hanging in his room, was a Van Gogh painting. His parents probably retired from the sale of the painting. This is where I get my inspiration for pieces I chose for my home. This is why I am so eclectic but not in a pack-rat kind of way.
On Sundays, during my last year of college, I attended church and then would walk from my beach house to Downtown Santa Cruz’s antique and thrift shops. Taking a peaceful walk along the ocean by myself did wonders for me. During this time I’d meditate, pray and be thankful and grateful for all the good in my life. By the time I reached Downtown Santa Cruz, I’d stop into a bookstore to read the antique, vintage furniture, houseware p books and magazines, then I’d make my way into the antique and thrift shops. First I’d stop at the antique shops, see what they considered to be valuable and find out how valuable, then I’d walk over to the thrift stores to rummage. Upon walking up to a thrift store one fine day, I spotted a beautiful green armchair and matching ottoman being lifted out from a truck and in front of the store. I fell in love immediately and wanted to purchase it but only if I could get a deal out of it. At the same time, an owner at a neighboring antique store saw it and ran back to her store to grab some cash to buy it. I wanted it so bad that I convinced the delivery guy to sell it to me for $85. I then I called my best friend, Susan, and asked her to help me pick it up in her Ford Explorer and bring it home- thank God for good friends that I can always count on.. After inspecting the piece, it was imported from Denmark and was in good condition. The chair became my reading chair for many years, and it remains a conversational piece a decade later. During my time in Santa Cruz, I collected milk glass pieces, and ceramics that were mostly made in England. I purchased a few at $5 a piece, on average, that were retailing for $25-$45 at the local antique shops. I hope to have a book someday and to feature my eclectic taste in food, houseware, and furnishing.Share on Facebook