While I am relatively new to being an author, I am a seasoned pro when it comes to throwing a party! Usually, it’s someone else’s celebration for a milestone such as an anniversary, birthday or wedding. But this time, this time it was my own.
After spending about two years starting during the pandemic sifting through memories and events that brought my family and myself to America 40 years ago, I held in my hands a beautiful book – My Culinary Love Story.
What started out as a small story to tell my family who were always curious about how my husband, Dennis and my children, Joanne and Ross, and I ended up on the shores of Malibu. We were far from our homes in England but so much closer to our hearts and true calling here in America.
So I started writing the small story, which quickly became a larger story, which then began to include recipes of those dishes that shaped my culinary passion and that Dennis and I shared together as we were going through our courting stage and through our beautiful winter wedding in England.
I won’t tell you how the book ends, although you might guess! But I will tell you that it now includes 64 recipes and beautiful watercolor illustrations by my dear friend Janette Carpenter.
And I will tell you that it has been a joy to look back while moving forward!
I wanted the book launch to be about happiness, optimism, flowers (a lot of flowers included a flower crown for me) and a bit of looking back – I was launching a memoir after all!
The Oviatt, with its gorgeous retro design and place in the history of the city where we came to settle, was the perfect venue. I chose recipes and drinks from the book. There was Dennis’ infamous gin and tonics he was drinking when I officially met him at a bistro on Christmas eve, a French Rose, a Chablis, and a Cote du Rhone. The Cote du Rhone actually played a big part in the book and was part of the many meals we have.
And there was champagne – always part of the toasts from my father, and later at the many weddings of family and friends.
We began the luncheon with a champagne tower as guests arrived to the foyer of The Oviatt Penthouse.
Lunch began with an Avocado Salad from Chapter 5: Dating and Children.
The first dinner I made for Dennis began with this salad.
The lunch entrée was a Salmon En Croute from Chapter 8: Dinner at the Castle.
The castle was Thornbury where after a wild dinner with my sister, Angela, her husband and Dennis, we met Kenneth Bell, the owner of the castle at the time. A couple days later he offered me a job at the castle. It worked out perfectly with some changes going on at Blostin’s and soon I moved the children and myself from living above Blostin’s Bistro to our new residence at the castle!
The luncheon ended with a Lemon Syllabub dessert from Chapter 11: Love Letters.
In this chapter, Dennis and I are separated for a year and wrote letters every day during that time (no email or international phone plans back then!) He was in Malibu doing a custom carpentry project and I was working at the castle, getting ready to turn it into a seven-room Relais hotel. This dessert was a popular one at the Thornbury.
But that wasn’t the ending! The lunch ended with a chocolate martini. After lunch I signed books, chatted with friends at this gorgeous book table!
Thank you to:
Venue: The Oviatt
Cuisine: Good Gracious! Events
Floral: In Blume LA
Rentals: Town and Country Event Rentals
Entertainment: Fortune Entertainment
Bar Service and Beverages: Liquid Catering
Photographer: Loreen Sarkis, Sarkis Studios