Woodrow Wilson likes cooking up fun, and talking about it!

Del Mar's Woodrow Wilson is a scientist, a Toastmaster, a cook, an author, a husband, a father and a grandfather. Wilson earned his Ph.D. from Caltech and began a career in research and development. Highlights of his long and varied career include 12,000 mph impacts, explosions and disposal of chemical ammunition.

Wilson is an advanced communicator and an advanced leader in Toastmasters. His technical experience plays into some entertaining and informative Toastmaster speeches. So do his children, his grandchildren and his books. Wilson also serves as area governor, supporting the management of six local Toastmaster clubs.

Wilson brings his creativity out of the laboratory and into the kitchen. Toying with recipes — adjusting ingredients or substituting for whatever he's out of — yields new takes on old favorites. Cooking by the seat of his pants, Wilson produces new taste sensations. His best are presented in his "The Champagne Taste/Beer Budget Cookbook," which he is signing in libraries across North County.

What brought you to Del Mar?

I fell in love with California when I was in school at Caltech. The job market was nearly as bad when I graduated as it is today. It took six years to find a job that would pay me to work in California. I moved to Olivenhain when it was still rural, won the Bicentennial Beer Drinking Contest, and decided I never wanted to leave northern San Diego County. So far, so good. I'm now in rural Del Mar.

What makes this town special to you?

There's so much to love about our town. When the tide is out, walking the beach from Penasquitos Lagoon to Dog Beach and back is out of this world. Watch for people, dolphins and even whales. If you have time, stop at the tide pools along the way. On a summer Tuesday night, there are concerts at Powerhouse Park. Watch the sunset with a baguette, a bottle of wine and a few good cheeses.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in the area?

Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland; I'd drive the snails out of North County.

What inspires you?

On morning walks with the dogs, I can watch the sun rise over the mountains of East County and know there's another day in paradise ahead for me. I promise myself not to waste it.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I'd invite Hedy Lamarr. She lived her famous quote, "Any girl can be glamorous, all you have to do is stand still and look stupid." She hid a brilliant mind to be regarded as the most glamorous woman in the world. Her patent led to the Qualcomm patents. Where would the area economy be without them?

A former teacher, Richard Feynman would be the life of any party. Fascinating: He invented quantum electrodynamics, and he played bongo drums. He could talk to anyone about anything. He would sketch Hedy Lamarr's portrait ... and probably take her home at the end of the evening.

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