Posts Tagged ‘places to eat in ventura’

Project Cupcake

Friday, July 17th, 2009


What started out as a Facebook discussion on my friend West Cooke’s mad cooking skills, and his hidden away restaurant, Cooke’s Smokehouse (A couple blocks away from the location of one of my old surf shops) got a little out of hand. Funny what can inspire us to create something special. It is remarkable what can arise in both cause and affect via inspiration.

A few of us had been joking around online. Kat Merrick, Jim Scolari, Jim Rice, West, the usual multifaceted blend of community that is the town we all refer to fondly as Ventucky, our land of eclectic madness by the sea. Jim and his wife, Donna and I, wound up at Cooke’s one evening for my first visit, where we were treated to a pretty amazing, albeit calorie rich example of fire grilled meats, Hefeweizen on tap, and assorted goodies that the memory of is making me hungry, in spite of just having had breakfast.

At the end of our repast, someone mentioned cupcakes. We were full, but I remember thinking: What the heck, its only a cupcake,  and ordered two, which we shared. Those cupcakes were unlike anything I have ever experienced or tasted. They exemplified an obvious flair for creativity and generosity  in what would as a rule, be a mediocre at best, stab at the art of baking.

Those cupcakes said a lot to me about how our lives could work and what a world could be, if we found enthusiasm and creativity in our little segment of a daily existence that at times, for even the most creatively inspired, can wax mundane. We all go through it in family, work, sports, art: that “what is the point?” query.

Here is the point. When we engage our endeavors with creativity, and flair, and have it matter to us, it will make a difference somewhere down the line and matter to others. One never knows what results will spring from your diligence and attention to what is right in front of you in your life, at this exact instant.

So I went by Cooke’s after the Facebook reparte, and the promise of a cupcake from West. I picked up two very stunning pineapple upside down beauties, glistening with a pineapple reduction glaze. West had zero idea what I was up to.

Now the last time I really shot food, was quite awhile ago. The shots, for another pal of mine, wound up in a display at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He is a great chef, and cook as well. But I had been hired to shoot some menu items for the restaurant.  The images developed legs of their own, and found a home that I would never have imagined.

I have had multiple works show in museums around the world, and not a one of those instances was by design. Some curator happened to notice a burst of inspiration that had I had been standing around holding a camera of some sort for. I simply documented the event. It serves to illustrate what can happen when you choose to engage a task alight with the realization that it should, and could, be done well. So you personalize the effort.

I took the confections home having thought about the subject, and inspired, shot cupcakes. Even had a little joke with my editor at Surfer, Jean Paul Van Swae about it (You won’t believe what I am doing JP!). The short of it is this, West’s passion for his business and love for his community birthed¬† something new, and my own homage to the source of my inspiration.

That is how we all ought to be, inspired by one another. I am constantly amazed by the bright lights in my life, and am convinced that without their illumination, contributions, enthusiasm and participation, that the world around me would be pretty freaking dark.

A young photographer, who in spite of his low key demeanor has always impressed me with his quiet inner confidence and steady rising glow, is Kyle Sparkes. His latest blog illustrates a vital aspect of the creative process in a very personal way.

Here is a great example of creativity and flair produced by TKO Media. Thanks to Al Grizwold for pointing it out. I grin at just the thought of it.

Seth Godin has an amazing ability to locate me, and you, in his daily blog. Here is what he has to say regarding cupcakes.

Think that you have nothing special to bring to the table? This quirky music video may convince you otherwise.

Go ahead, do it. I know you are stuffed.  But you will enjoy the results, and so will everybody else.

Have a bite.


© 2009 David Pu'u. All rights reserved.