Local author debuts cookbook inspired by California coastal lifestyle

By Kristina Houck

While Thanksgiving is a time for family, food and football, Jolee Pink views the holiday as another opportunity for artistic expression.

A local artist and designer, Pink enjoys preparing her home to welcome friends and family for the festive feast. The design challenge inspired the local resident to release her new book, “Living Coastal: Inspirations for Entertaining, Decorating and Cooking California Style.”

From Tapas by the Sea to Baja-Style Bash, each of the book’s 16 chapters showcases a different theme for entertaining indoors and outdoors.

“I wanted to blend art and food to show how bringing the two together could elevate the dining experience,” Pink said. “I wanted to shape trendsetting tablescapes and give people ideas of what they could do at home, bringing their own personality into the mix.”

Published by Chefs Press, “Living Coastal” features more than 20 seafood recipes from 18 chefs. From sea urchin crostini with roe-herb butter, jalapeño jam and lavender salt by Tommy Fraioli of Sea Rocket Bistro, to Maine Diver Sea Scallops and Baja prawns with red quinoa and icewine-eggplant foam by Bernard Guillas of the Marine Room, the book highlights local chefs who use local produce, and sustainably-sourced and locally fished seafood.

From paintings to sculptures, the 112-page book also features artwork by 18 artists set on Pink’s tablescapes. Pieces include the “Jellyfish” painting by Donna Butnik and “Vertical Drop” bronze sculpture by Matthew Antichevich.

“The book is definitely going to appeal to people in San Diego because it features some of the best artists, chefs and local companies in San Diego,” Pink said.

“I really tried to get a diverse group of artists and chefs. Each artist and chef literally brought their own experiences and style to the table.”

Pink’s art is also featured in the book.

A graphic designer for more than 10 years, Pink left the corporate world to pursue art full-time in 2001.

She launched Wabisabi Green in 2008 to showcase her ceramic sculptures and home and garden designs, as well as promote greener living. Inspired by nature and the Southern California coastal lifestyle, her line of table linens and throw pillows are made from organic, sustainable or recycled materials.

A chapter of the book also features her sculptures, which she describes as “whimsical, colorful and playful.”

“There’s something special about California style, and I think that may have an appeal to people who just love to cook or appreciate art or like to entertain,” Pink said. “They can pull bits and pieces out of the book.”

“Living Coastal” was officially released during a launch party Nov. 21 at Cicciotti’s Trattoria Italiana and Seafood in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

The book is available at select local retailers and online at



“The book’s like pealing an onion,” Pink said. “It has a lot of different layers.”