About

Hello! My name is Lynne Hemer and I am a woman obsessed with food and cooking, in search of new, unusual, exotic and sublime ingredients and recipes. I love reading cookbooks, taking cooking classes, going to new restaurants, photographing food, and blogging about it all!

I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota, which is a suburb of Minneapolis. When I was 23 years old I moved to Chicago for three years, then on to California. I now live in the Manhattan Beach area of Los Angeles, CA.

My mother’s grandmother was an immigrant from Norway, her grandfather from Denmark, so the food I ate growing up was Midwestern with occasional Norwegian and Danish traditional dishes thrown in. During the holidays dishes like fiskeboller, rullepolse, fattigmann, pickled herring, lefsa and krumkake would show up in the kitchen. I think this is what started my interest in unusual foods. Believe me, no one else in my neighborhood was eating this stuff.

During the early 1980s I was a manager for three restaurants in the Redondo Beach Marina – The Landing, Clark’s, and the Redondo Beach House. I was in the restaurant kitchen every day, but my focus was on food costing, the liquor par, and keeping the employees from stealing. I hadn’t been bitten by the Foodie Obsession bug yet, but I was eating exciting, complex and, to me, new food, experiences that, down the line, would help fuel my desire to learn everything culinary.

In 1991, a friend talked me into doing a cooking show segment for the City of Torrance Cable Network. They filmed amateurs cooking one or two of their own recipes – a one take, half hour show. I was scared to death, but this turned out to be the pivotal experience that changed me from a simple wife and mother into someone who dreamed of going to culinary school. With that one moment of “fame,” I was calling the CIA in New York and talking to the recruiter there. They sent me literature and a tape showing the school and classes. I was misty-eyed with longing. But I had a husband, a 4-year old child and a career, so running off to New York was just a wonderful fantasy.

One day I received a catalog of classes from UCLA in the mail. I was paging through and, lo and behold, they had a culinary school program! It wasn’t the CIA, but it was nearby and doable. I ended up going to culinary school at night for five years – the happiest five years of my life. I ended up with a Certificate in the Professional Designation of Cooking and a Certificate for Pastry and Baking. My cooking teacher was Cecilia de Castro, a well-known LA culinarian, who had worked with Wolfgang Puck in the early days at Ma Maison. My pastry teacher was Kathy Soo Hoo, who had been the pastry chef at the Parkway Grill, and created the deserts for the Oscars before Wolfgang Puck took over the franchise.

I did my cooking internship at Campanile, with Mark Peel and Nancy Silverton. Every Saturday for nine months I did prep work there in the kitchen. It was such an amazing experience for me, scary, enlightening, intensely interesting, like having walked into another dimension, where you didn’t know the rules and how you were supposed to act. But I learned so much, and, to my knowledge, didn’t create any big blunders. The people I worked with were so kind to me, a middle aged woman with, by their standards, no skills, teaching me and poking fun at me. I was sad when my time was over, but grateful for being allowed to work there and learn.

In 1996 I also took a cooking class that was part of the UCLA Catering Certificate Program that was taught by Denise Vivaldo of Food Fanatics. Our final was a banquet  that we prepared for 100 friends and family. I ended up being the Executive Chef for the banquet, directing my brigade of fellow students in the kitchen, which was a pretty heady experience for an OCD, perfectionist, control freak like me. After desert they made me give a speech and we all got a standing ovation.

From 1996 until now, 2010, I went back to being a wife and mother with a full time office job. I finished raising my youngest son, who is now 22. I really wanted to get back into the culinary life in some way and was thinking about teaching a cooking class. I took some cooking classes from the Manhattan Beach Parks Dept., but I just couldn’t see myself hauling all the equipment and food back and forth from my car for each class. I just didn’t have the energy.

This was the point where I decided to do a food blog. I want to share my recipes and experiences with other food obsessed people, and join the LA food blogging community. This is the perfect culmination. I hope you enjoy my website as much as I enjoy creating it.

{ 1 trackback }

Twirly Lemon Cookies and My First Chef’s Coat
August 23, 2010 at 9:21 pm

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna January 19, 2010 at 10:27 am

I am so proud of you, Mom! And I am very excited about your new adventure! I have always looked forward to coming to your house and seeing what new and exciting foods you would have for us. Now I look forward to following your blog and will enjoy watching you share your love with the world. Plus now I will have all the great recipes I have grown up with! I love you!

Donna Knapp January 19, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Lynne, this is a beautiful site and the pictures are awesome. Congratulations! I know you have been working on this for a while, and it is beautiful! Best of luck!
Donna Knapp

cathy/ShowFoodChef January 20, 2010 at 12:36 pm

Lynne, my name is Cathy and I live in Hermosa Beach (so near). I took the Food Styling class the weekend before you and loved it too! I started my blog about 6 months ago, went to Culinary school a couple years ago (had waited til I was over 45) and it was thrilling. It would be fun to meet for coffee or something to chat, etc.. about the whole LA BLoggers adventure. There is a group that meet about once a month for a potluck (all LA Food Bloggers). Let me know if ya want to get the invite. Cath-

DC March 4, 2010 at 9:20 am

Hi Lynne,
I love food. I love photography. I love food and photography websites. Grace Marie at Bristol Farms mentioned your site to us yesterday so I came by to take a peek. It’s wonderful. I’m looking forward to trying your recipes!
Best wishes.

Kath March 30, 2010 at 11:16 am

Your blog is lovely, Lynne! Your photos are beautiful. I found your site with your photo of Shrimp Salad Thai Style with Gula Jawa published on tastespotting. It looks amazingly good!

Ann Kendall May 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Lynne, I love your website. My good friend Fran (who goes to many cooking classes at Bristol Farms) sent it to me and I am very excited to follow closely. Your recipes sound wonderful and the pictures are amazing. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication — and also for sharing.
Ann

Kelli July 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Just discovered your blog through Dorothy @shockinglydelish Saveur write-up. What a wonderful journey you’ve had. Looking forward to following your blog. I currently live in Edina MN…so we have the MN connection. My husband is from So. CA and we plan to be back in CA some day. Nice to meet you!

Deanna August 4, 2011 at 11:14 am

omg, I just read about fattigman and lefse! My mom used to make fattigman, I’ve made it once with my brother, and loooove lefse. Not lutefisk or herring though, no no no.

Lala December 18, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I couldn’t be happier when I found your blog today. I love baking cookies but I also enjoy cooking. Your photos are amazing and your recipes and illustrations are easy to understand. Thank you for providing us with your interesting experiences and wonderful recipes. I’ll be visiting your blog often.

Mama's Gotta Bake April 1, 2012 at 10:58 am

Hi Lynne, I found your beautiful website through Foodgawker as I was admiring all your photos on that site. I also read your post on the MDR food photography class that you took, and I just signed up for their next one. So glad you blogged about it. In reading this page I see that you studied with Cecilia DeCastro, as did I. I learned so much from her, for me it was life changing. Anyway, I will continue to read and enjoy your blog!
Sheryl

Barbara May 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Lynne,

What a beautiful journey! Your recipes look delish and your photos are truly amazing. Can’t wait to meet you at Camp Blogaway!

Barbara McNamara August 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Hi Lynne,

Found your blog as I was searching mini tart/brioche shells. Love your writing style and your food is SO wonderful looking and sounding.

THEN I noticed you are from Richfield, MN!!
Just wanted to send greetings from Bloomington. MN.

Barbara

Tracy Glover November 3, 2012 at 6:21 am

Hi Lynne,
I found your website while looking for recipes for Gochujang sauce. I first tasted that sauce at a restaurant called Street360 in Portsmouth, NH while on a road trip and have been obsessed with it since. Your fried chicken wings look amazing! I also really enjoyed reading your post on discovering Asian food. I will look forward to reading more. Great discovery! Thanks

Carolina DL December 3, 2012 at 2:00 am

Great job Lynne on following what you really want. I was really touched by reading this. I studied culinary arts and I love this beautiful career. Your recipes are great. I’m a fan now! Congrats

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