Besides her work as private chef for various celebrity clients and running her catering company that focuses on sustainable, local ingredients, Staci Valentine and her firm Staci Valentine Design, specialize in creating, styling and photographing food-related imagery. Currently, she is also working on a novel approach to producing cooking videos. Here Staci shares her ideal work space – the kitchen and backyard of her home in Los Angeles.
I believe food has the ability to change the way people think about the life they lead. Growing up, I was very aware of the emotional connection food fosters between people. Because I now work with food, my husband and I knew that our ideal home would need to have the potential of facilitating that emotional connection.
Our space would need not only a marvelous kitchen, but also a location for hosting many gatherings with friends. Finding our 1926 Spanish house under the Hollywood sign four years ago was serendipitous. It has the space for my food reference library, for all of my cooking gear and styling props, and supports our Angelino indoor/outdoor lifestyle.
Our space also has a garden where I grow the food and do beekeeping. I beekeep not only because the taste of honey is one of my favorite memories; but because urban beekeeping is a terrific way to build community since the bees pollinate throughout the neighborhood and many of my bees have come from unwanted nearby hives.
When not in the kitchen or with the hives, I am at the outdoor office right outside the kitchen: a 10-foot outdoor dining table built by my husband, using reclaimed redwood as the top. Here I plot menus for my clients based on what is seasonal and nibble on food experiments. I use wifi and a laptop which, combined with my smartphone, allow me to work outdoors just steps away from where I can pluck juicy Persian mulberries and snip fresh bay leaves.
Next up will be the ideal treehouse for our son, hopefully something like the one pictured above from Elias Blog. We would love for him to have his own nuanced architectural environment to navigate and discover–and perhaps even plant his own little garden beside.