Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Art of Delicious Eating: New and Stylish Cookbook I Love — ‘Yummy Supper’ by Erin Scott

Berkeley author and blogger Erin Scott has just published an honest-to-goodness cookbook that also introduces us to her Berkeley residence, her garden, and her delicious recipes.

Come with me to meet Erin, to check out her ideas, and to visit her house and meet her family.

Berkeley is where so many significant food/eating/cuisine and dining ideas were originally cooked up—think Chez Panisse and Alice Waters—and Erin is enhancing that tradition. 

I send warmest thanks to my wonderful friend, the San Francisco architect Abigail Turin, for re-introducing me to Berkeley cookbook author/food blogger Erin Scott.

Erin’s new cookbook, ‘Yummy Supper’, is new from Rodale Books. It’s a joyful series of ideas, photographs, uncomplicated recipes, brilliant flavors that are immediately engaging, and bright and clear ideas that you could almost cook from the pictures.

Imagine Bourbon-braised short ribs, ice-cream pie, a quick breakfast salad, slurpy fruit drinks, savory custards with wild nettles, and black rice pudding, Balinese garden stew, millet crepes (sweet or savory), a mushroom galette, and a year's worth of health-conscious and sybaritic and versatile recipes—from a gluten-free omnivore. No wonder her blog, Yummy Supper, has 100,000 followers. 

The culinary world is not often my focus, but Erin won me over with her down-to-earth new ideas about living with fresh and breezy style—and dining with the seasons, with flavor.

It happens that the recipes are gluten free – but you’d hardly notice if that was not your focus. Her house, a charming Berkeley bungalow, and her food and kitchen and cuisine all work in a chic and child-friendly style. Love it. It’s very California—but without eccentricity. It’s very do-able. No ten-part recipes.You can find everything at a farmers’ market. 

I admire Erin’s idea of feeding her family with fresh local ingredients, and with vegetables and fruit from her small garden. I love the idea of Bolinas crab pasta with citrus and mint, and red rice risotto with wild mushrooms and wilted spinach, or French lentils with preserved lemon, tarragon, and creamy goat cheese. There’s a ‘butcher shop’ section and a ‘sea’ and an ‘egg’ section (a favorite) and I admire the inventiveness.

Erin prepared and photographed everything in ‘Yummy Supper’ and her two children and her husband cook as well.

I admire also the flea-market/ chic style of her house, and her marvelous and unpretentious food styling and table settings.

In particular, I know you’ll be inspired by her approach—which does not require days of complicated cooking. Twenty minutes to vibrant deliciousness. 

A Friend, Indeed

Abigail Turn is a longtime friend of Erin’s…and here's her note of re-introduction:

Abby Turin said, “Erin lives in a lovely house in Berkeley with an adorable organic garden. She moved to Berkeley when she was 15, was at Columbia for college and then in New York for years, and moved back to Berkeley around ’94. Her family is very international – but also very grounded / California. And as a side note…she and her family just spent a year travelling and researching and photographing and studying through the South Pacific with their two kids. She is a fabulous woman – warm, smart, charming and chic.”

Blogger, Mother, Wife, Gardener, Farmers' Market Shopper, Author

I asked Erin about her new book, ‘Yummy Supper’ (Rodale Books)—and her popular blog, Yummy Supper. Erin’s food photography and lifestyle shots have been published in Saveur and Kinfolk It's impressive that she’s invented her new calling. She formerly ran and styled a fantastic fashion store, August, She then threw herself into beautiful food photography, and her book is published by the highly demanding and popular Rodale Books. 

I asked her how she got started in the culinary orbit.

“Yes, all images, text, recipes... everything is by me,” Erin said. “My previous work was in fashion and design - originally in magazines and then working for entrepreneurs in all arenas of fashion from buying to merchandising to sales and marketing. In 2005, I co-founded a lifestyle store in Oakland called August (a very special shop, which you covered in C magazine years ago). It wasn't until I started my blog that my lifelong personal passions for photography and home cooking became my work. When I casually started my blog in 2009 I had no idea that I was embarking on a new career path, but 5 years later I've found myself doing professional photography work and writing a cookbook and absolutely loving every bit of it!

I am a completely self-taught photographer and stylist. I learned by taking hundreds of thousands of photos and growing from my mistakes. I think my instinct for styling is an organic extension of my work in merchandising.” 

Early Praise for Erin's Work

I love the book—and I’m in good company:

Some words of advance plaudits:

"This book shows how to eat with intention ~ and reveals through simple, vibrant recipes that when you are attuned to freshness, flavor, and seasonality, health is the natural outcome." - Alice Waters

"Erin Scott’s recipes look ever so appealing ~ fresh, bright, full of bright color and clean flavors, in fact, “yummy”, just as she says. I’ll use this book for sure."
- Deborah Madison, author Vegetable Literacy 

"Yummy Supper hasn't left the side of my stove since I opened it. As a busy mom of two, I'm inspired by this beautifully crafted cookbook and motivated to cook its honest and delicious recipes with what I have in my kitchen."
- Kyle Cornforth, Director of The Edible Schoolyard Berkeley 

CREDITS: All images her by Erin Scott, used with express permission.

Book: Yummy Supper, 100 Fresh, Luscious and Honest Recipes from A (Gluten-free) Omnivore 
by Erin Scott 
(Rodale Books, Fall 2014)

You’ll want to sign up. 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Glory, Drama and Beauty at San Francisco Opera: I Love It

Creativity, Verve, Inspiration and Passionate Performances — The San Francisco Opera Fall Season Opens September 5.

I’m looking forward to a great new fall opera season, with thrilling new operas, dynamic new productions, and divas to die for.

I love opera. Big themes and intense emotions take performance and spectacle far beyond singing and orchestral music.

Designers and architects and artists and all creative types, in particular…should have season opera tickets. Music is basically structural and harmonious. The composition and power and mastery of each performance are always inspiring. Set designs, costumes, choreography, expression, ideas, eras, are all captivating.

Watching opera for two or three hours sparks the brain, encourages dreaming, incites new ideas.

Singing…beautiful, moving, live voices…is just the beginning. 

La Bohème


Betrayal, Love, Honor, Death, Dreams, Fantasy, Devastation, Beauty, Triumph, Wit, Hatred and Romance are portrayed on stage.

I watch, caught up in the music and the choreography.

I’m inspired, I’m uplifted and spirited away from the everyday. 

San Francisco War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco Opera is one of the greatest international opera companies (now in it 93rd year), and performances at the War Memorial Opera House are among my favorites of the cultural season.

Starting on September 5, when the season launches with a gala, we can look forward to glamorous evenings with Bellini, Verdi, Handel, Rossini, Puccini and Floyd.

First there’s the September 5 opening night gala—and then three glorious months of sopranos and tenors, passionate lyrics, character-enhancing costumes, all surrounded by glamorous sets and orchestral magic. If I'm really fortunate, I sit in the front row, almost part of the orchestra. I love to watch the musicians as well as the drama on stage.

The season opens with Bellini’s moving ‘Norma’ and ends on December 7 with Puccini’s romantic and tragic ‘La Boheme’.

I’ll be attending all seven operas. I’m especially looking forward to the sumptuous production of ‘Norma’ and then a new production and the company premiere of ‘Susannah’.

There’s ‘A Masked Ball’ with its love triangle, and Handel’s ‘Partenope’ transported to 1920s Paris. ‘Tosca’ is so familiar it’s tempting to sing along. ‘Cinderella’ is frothy fun, and ‘La Boheme’ leaves the audience in tears. Divine.

Come with me for a preview. Oh, and for those who love to plan a social evening: All 2014–15 Season evening performances will now have a 7:30 P.M. curtain time. 

San Francisco War Memorial Opera House

Highlights of the Fall Season:

COMPANY PREMIERE of Carlisle Floyd’s SUSANNAH. The first opera composed by this American composer receives its San Francisco Opera premiere in a new production by the team who created 2012’s Nixon in China—director Michael Cavanagh and set designer Erhard Rom. Conductor Karen Kamensek makes her Company debut. 

This opera is a great favorite of David Gockley, San Francisco opera director (formerly with the Houston Opera)…who believes that Carlisle Floyd is one of the top American opera composers. I can’t wait to see it. Sept 6-21. 

COMPANY PREMIERE of Handel’s comedy, PARTENOPE, presented in a brilliant Olivier Award-winning production directed by Christopher Alden and starring two of baroque opera’s most sought-after performers—Danielle de Niese and David Daniels. October 15- Nov 2. 

NEW PRODUCTION PREMIERE of Bellini’s NORMA opens the season starring Sondra Radvanovsky, who sang the role for the first time in 2013 and received outstanding critical acclaim in the recent Metropolitan Opera production of the opera. Sept 5—30. 

La Bohème – Giacomo Puccini
November 14–December 7 

Puccini’s masterpiece about an aspiring poet and a fragile seamstress who experience passionate love and poignant tragedy in 19th-century Paris, features two superb alternating casts in a new production. One cast features Sonya Yoncheva as Mimì opposite Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo. David Farley’s setting is conceived as a collage of canvases by the painter Marcello and is inspired by the artistic brilliance and romance of France’s Belle Époque. Resident Conductor Giuseppe Finzi leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus. November 14–December 7 

Revivals of San Francisco Opera Productions

Un Ballo in Maschera (A Masked Ball) – Giuseppe Verdi 
October 4–22 

Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera is headlined by Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas as the unwisely flirtatious and cavalier King Gustavus III. A compelling tale of love, betrayal and revenge, Verdi’s magnificent drama is presented in San Francisco Opera’s classic production, conducted by Music Director Nicola Luisotti and directed by Jose Maria Condemi. 

Tosca – Giacomo Puccini
October 23–November 8 

Italian maestro Riccardo Frizza conducts Tosca, Puccini’s masterful melodrama in which a great singer, a rebellious painter and a corrupt police chief engage in a deadly test of wills. San Francisco Opera’s elegant and beloved production designed by Thierry Bosquet is directed by Jose Maria Condemi. 

La Cenerentola (Cinderella) – Gioachino Rossini 
November 9–26 

Based on a beloved fairy tale, Rossini’s La Cenerentola sparkles in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s charming production. French mezzo-soprano Karine Deshayes makes her San Francisco Opera debut in the title role of Angelina (Cinderella). 

Susannah set design


David Gockley, now in his ninth year as San Francisco Opera general director, commented “I am genuinely enthused about the new season and believe it stacks up against the finest seasons offered over the decades by this great company. All the productions will be sung at the highest international level and will feature our extraordinary San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus.

“On a personal note, I am particularly thrilled to present Carlisle Floyd’s beautiful and popular Susannah. I have championed Carlisle’s operas throughout my entire career, and I couldn’t be more pleased to finally present Susannah to Bay Area audiences in a handsome new production.” 

Norma set design


San Francisco Opera offers a comprehensive array of acclaimed training programs and performance opportunities for young artists under the auspices of the San Francisco Opera Center and the Merola Opera Program (each a separate institution). Both are led by renowned soprano Sheri Greenawald.

San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild annually bring opera and music education programs to more than 60,000 students throughout Northern California. San Francisco Opera’s groundbreaking Opera ARIA (Arts Resources in Action) programs work with classrooms and educators in grades K–12. Aimed at connecting professional artistic and creative elements of opera with classroom curricula, Opera ARIA’s methodology focuses on empowering educators to work with both San Francisco Opera and their own colleagues to develop connections to curriculum and the California State Arts and Academic Standards.

In addition to these in-school programs, San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Opera Guild provide education opportunities for all ages, including workshops for adults, pre-opera talks, preview lectures, insight panels, professional development for educators, family opera movie screenings, opera arts training camps, student dress rehearsals and opera house and backstage tours. 






San Francisco Opera was founded by Gaetano Merola (1881–1953) and incorporated in 1923. The Company's first performance took place on September 26, 1923 (La Bohème, with Queena Mario and Giovanni Martinelli, conducted by Merola).

THANK YOU San Francisco Opera is sponsored, in part, by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation, Norby Anderson, John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, Franklin and Catherine Johnson, Mrs. Edmund W. Littlefield, Bernard and Barbro Osher, and Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem. San Francisco Opera is supported, in part, by a grant from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. Opening Weekend Grand Sponsor is Diane B. Wilsey.

All images courtesy of San Francisco Opera, and used here with express permission.

All performances feature the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus at the War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco.

For Tickets, call (415) 864-3330 or

Monday, August 25, 2014

Photographer I Love: Introducing the Brilliant and Creative Photographer, Jo Whaley

This week on THE STYLE SALONISTE I have dramatic and thought-provoking images to make your brain sparkle and tingle and to instantly grow more dendrites.

The dramatic and highly original photographs are by Jo Whaley—a dedicated photographer who has been exhibiting for the last twenty-eight years. I discovered her in a book published by Chronicle Books in 2008, ‘The Theater of Insects’. 

Jo’s images—still lives—are in the classical tradition of the great Dutch masters but hers have a modern aspect, a contemporary point of view. Like the Dutch painters she alludes to the beauty and glory of nature and at the same time the brevity of life. And her subtext presents, with great delicacy, a post-industrial meditation. But most of all—they are simply glorious and technically daring images.

Come with me this week to meet Jo’s work face-to-face and to consider her bracing point of view, the twists of her mind, her virtuoso craftsmanship and her supreme technical mastery.

The printed images vary in size from 8”x 10” to 24”x 30” .

Who is Jo Whaley?

Jo Whaley has lifelong roots in the San Francisco Bay Area. She had earned advanced degrees in Art and Photography from the University of California, Berkeley by 1980.

Whaley originally studied to become a painter and later took a day job as a scenic artist for the San Francisco Opera and other Bay Area theatrical companies. Her theater experience informs her photography, in which she creates stage sets and employs numerous props, painted backdrops and dramatic lighting.

All of her photographic series fuse the language of photography with the language of painting and rely on an expressive use of color. 

The Classical Concept of Still Life Images

Jo Whaley comments: 

“Each element in a still life contributes to the narrative of the image. The staged sets for these insects use cast-off materials from urban production, which have been partially reclaimed by nature. These include metal that has gone through fire, glass that has become oxidized and iridescent in the earth, plastic that has been pitted by the sea, and paper that is foxed by microorganisms.

These found objects are chosen for the visual poetry written in their deterioration and imperfection. In this work, the animating spirit is the Japanese aesthetic known as wabi-sabi, which celebrates the state of decay as a spiritual reflection of life itself and above all reveres nature. As opposed to the ancient Greek aesthetic of ideal beauty, with its regular proportions and flawless perfection, wabi-sabi sees beauty emerging from ugliness, such as the painterly transmutation that occurs when a piece of metal rusts. Likewise, some insects may seem repulsive at first, but close observation reveals their expressive power.” 


Jo Whaley’s work is held in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Art. Her touring exhibit “The Theater of Insects” opened at the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC in the Fall of 2008, followed by the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego It has continually toured to museums concluding in 2013, at The Henry Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock Abbey, UK. A monograph, “The Theater of Insects” was published by Chronicle Books.

Jo Whaley received one of the last National Endowment Visual Artists Fellowships in 1994 for her “Natura Morta” series. She received numerous grants to work with the Polaroid 20x24 camera in New York between 1989 and 1993 for her series of nudes, entitled “Global Folly”. She keeps studios in Santa Fe, NM and Berkeley, CA and shares her life with the photographer Greg Mac Gregor. 

Jo Whaley lives in Oakland, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

It’s the beauty and power and thrilling imagery and suggestion of her work that enthrall me and offer chills and reverie

Whaley, in a special recent collection, photographed insects and butterflies. That alone would be exciting. But it’s her allusions to the traditions of classical still life styles—as well as her use of staged sets that use cast-off materials from factory production, mechanically made, that create poetry and power. 

Jo Whaley Notes:

Manufactured objects and insects have appeared together before in art history. In the European iconography from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, the insect in still-life painting symbolized the transient nature of all life, as an insect’s life span is literally short and some insects assist in the deterioration of matter.

“These paintings were cautionary tales with their sumptuous displays of earthly bounty and material wealth, while characteristically including a clue to mortality, such as a skull or an architectural fragment and inevitably a crawling insect. They warned that whatever humans create is in fact fleeting and that all wealth is mere vanity in the face of death. Ultimately, decay and entropy take their toll on every human endeavor.

“This classic theme of vanitas is carried forward in my photographs, but with the insect featured as the main subject. To reinforce this concept in the work, the specimens are depicted not in their actual size, but rather their scale is large, approximately the size of a human head. The viewer thus confronts the insect on a one-to-one relationship, as an equal, calling into question the perceived human dominance over nature.” 

Technical Details

Process: This series was shot in the studio using strobe lighting. The series began with film using a Mamiya RB 6x7, and creating Chromogenic photographs. Eventually I switched to the digital medium using a Canon 5D Mark 11 camera and printing archival pigment photogrash. The size of the images ranges from 8x10” to 24”x30”.

Jo Whaley Tells Us:

These photographs are fantastical field illustrations. While the insects in these images are real, the backgrounds are imaginary altered habitats of my own creation. Inspired by the old dioramas found in natural history museums, the pinned insects are arranged in constructed environments. “

“The studio where I create the images is as much a theatrical scene shop as it is a photography studio. The prop room looks like an eighteenth-century cabinet of curiosities, in that it is filled with specimens of natural history and visual oddities of manufacture. I use free association and intuition to make decisions about arranging the insect with a particular backdrop. Looking at color, shape, and form, I move the elements about until the magic of the image appears. “

“Lighting the scene is challenging as the sets are only about five by seven inches across with a depth of about an inch and a half. Yet the studio lighting is key to breathing a spirit into these pinned specimens and unifying the disparate elements within the mise-en-scène Finally, the performance of the image is concluded with a single click of the camera’s shutter.” 


“I approach photography as a theatrical expression. For this series, I use the color shape and form of the insect as a starting point for designing the set, keeping in mind the concepts of mimicry and camouflage.

Lighting the scene is challenging as the sets are only about 13 cm by 18cm across with a depth of about 4 cm. Yet, the studio strobe lighting is key to breathing a spirit into these pinned specimens and unifying the disparate elements within the mise-en-scène.

Finally, the performance of the image is concluded with a single click of the camera’s shutter. The series began with film using a Mamiya RB 6x7, and creating chromogenic photographs. Eventually the switch was made to the digital medium, using a Canon 5D Mark 11 camera and printing archival pigment photographs. 

Artist Statement

Within the series is a new development, which I call “The Portrait of Psyche For the Ancient Greeks”. The word for butterfly was the same word for the human soul. 

That word was Psyche, the root of our word psychology. Psyche was also the name for the Goddess of Love in Ancient Greece.

The photographs in this series depict butterflies paired with portraits of anonymous individuals whose souls have long ago departed. In fact, the tintypes and glass plates that carry their visage show signs of decay, so that even the portraits of these individuals are disappearing with the passage of time. The result is the melancholy beauty of entropy mixed with the gemlike exquisiteness of the butterflies. Nature, art and science are entwined. 

The Theater of Insects

Butterflies, beetles, dragonflies and other colorful insects take center stage in this collection of Jo Whaley’s photographs.

The photographs show insects in altered habitats that reflect a compromised natural environment. Entomology specimens are juxtaposed with backgrounds which are composed of cast-off materials from urban production, which have partially been reclaimed by nature; such as metal that is rusted, paper that is foxed by microorganisms and plastic pitted by the sea. The result is a world of nature, intermixed with the man in manufacture, and the melancholy beauty of entropy. 

All images here copyright Jo Whaley. Images used with express permission of Jo Whaley.

This series was shot in the studio using strobe lighting. The series began with film using a Mamiya RB 6x7, and creating Chromogenic photographs. Eventually I switched to the digital medium using a Canon 5D Mark 11 camera and printing archival pigment photogrash. The size of the images ranges from 8x10” to 24”x30” . 

The Theater of Insects
Photographs by Jo Whaley
Essays by Linda Wiener and Deborah Klochko and Jo Whaley
Published by Chronicle Books, 2008. 

Gallery Representation

Santa Fe, NM 
Photo-eye Gallery

Scottsdale, AZ 
Lisa Sette Gallery

La Jolla , CA 
Joseph Bellows Gallery

San Francisco 
Robert Koch Gallery

Palm Beach, FL 
Holden Luntz Gallery

Los Angeles 
Thomas Paul Gallery