Lois Stanton cooks up a good life plan in the kitchen biz

Lois Stanton is a Kansas farm girl and graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in education. She married her high school sweetheart, Bill Stanton, and helped put him through medical school at Washington University in St. Louis.

They moved to San Diego in 1970 for Bill’s residency and fellowship in Hematology and Oncology. When their daughter Lisl was enrolled in nursery school in 1976, Lois began a culinary career. She worked at The Perfect Pan Cookware Shop and Cooking School at Flower Hill. Lois became director of the cooking school, which expanded to five locations in San Diego and Orange County. She worked with Julia Child, Jaques Pepin, Madeleine Kamman, Paula Wolfert and Diana Kennedy.

Lois was founder of the Southern California Culinary Guild and a founding member of the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF).

Lois is president of the Social Service League of La Jolla, which owns Darlington House and League House.

What brought you to Del Mar?

My husband and I moved to San Diego in 1970 for his residency in medicine at UCSD. When we were house hunting in 1975, we wanted to live west of I-5. Well, we live on Portofino Drive which is just west of I-5. Also, our daughter was young and we wanted her to be able to attend Del Mar public schools.

What makes Del Mar special to you?

I love the “salad bowl” community of Del Mar. We are tossed together with people of varied backgrounds, interests and education. My friends and neighbors enrich my life. And, of course, I love my walks on Torrey Pines State Beach!

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

The “No Build” option for the I-5/SR56 corridor is high on my list. Homes on Portofino are threatened by planned freeway expansion, which would increase noise levels, pollution, and the overall quality of life.

Who or what inspires you?

I admire people who survive adversity with a joyful spirit, and those who exhibit positive energy and can-do attitude. I do feel that actions speak louder than words.

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

I enjoy offering my culinary expertise in charity auctions to prepare dinners for hosts who choose their own guests. In this way I get to enjoy many new guests. In North County, I will let Kaye and Dick Woltman and John Pieri and Fay Keulen invite the guests. These two couples bought dinner parties at the Scripps Mercy Ball. I will cook for them and my husband will play his classical guitar.

Tell us about what you are currently reading?

The New York restaurateur Danny Meyer’s “Setting the Table.” It focuses on the power of hospitality in business and not just the restaurant business. I also like Judith Jones’ new book “The Pleasures of Cooking for One,” even though I cook for the two of us almost every night.

What is your most-prized possession?

I have three pieces of the late Italo Scanga’s art, which I so enjoy. I also treasure some antique silver from my husband’s family, and an old cast-iron skillet that my uncle made on his Kansas farm.

What do you do for fun?

Trying new restaurants for an aperitif and hors d’oeuvres with friends. It is a great way to experience new places without committing to a full dinner. I also like to watch my favorite movie “South Pacific.”

Please describe your greatest accomplishment

My greatest accomplishments are a 44-year marriage and a fabulous daughter who is strong, independent, fun-loving and caring.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

If you can’t speak your mind, why have one?