MCF-USA (Maitres Cuisiniers de France)


Maîtres Cuisiniers de France is a prestigious culinary organization that spreads and preserves the French culinary arts throughout the world.  These individuals are passionate about their profession and encourage training and professional culinary development.  They dynamically  promote culinary excellence as well advance and perpetuate the traditions of great French cuisine.

MCF/USA has an annual meeting held each year within North America, as well as an International annual meeting typically held in France, but not always.  You can read a bit more about organization “ici”

This year’s North America Annual Meeting is being held in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  It’s a four day event that consists of meetings for the MCF Chefs, and special events that spouses are invited to participate in.  There is always a major focus on ALL MEAL functions and of course are regionally highlighted.  This year we are excited to see what the Mexican MCF Chefs have planned.

In additional to the meeting there is always an new MCF induction ceremony and a presentation of the MCF Chef of the Year.  This year the Chef of the year happens to be my husband – Xavier!  We found this out at the international MCF meeting in St. Malo, France.


Here Xavier is with the MCF/USA President, Jean-Louis Dumonet, and International MCF President, Christian Tetedoie in St. Malo after the award announcement.  (love the striped scarves)

We are leaving in the morning for Mexico and are looking forward to an exciting weekend.  Even though the ceremony will be in Mexico, the prestigious award was shipping to Xavier this past week.  I have not seen it personally, but it really looks impressive.


It’s kind of a big deal and I couldn’t be more proud.


Xavier and his awesome team!

Updates soon from Mexico!


Master Bathroom Remodel Inspiration

So, I have finally got my act together to get this project started.  It’s been so long since I have done a more extensive type of home project, and I forgot how time consuming it is.  Fortunately, I just love doing this – if only I had an unlimited budget.   I have to admit though, that the hunt and search for great pieces that are good quality and interesting is all part of the fun.

The process began probably about 6-8 months ago when I started to get ideas on what look I wanted.  As most of you probably already do, I turned to Instagram, Houzz and Pinterest as my initial resources.  Through Instagram I discovered two interior designers who I am OBSESSED with.  They both have blogs which are so informative and helpful in finding great resources to create looks similar to ones they have created.

The first designer is one that I have been following the longest and I LOVE EVERYTHING she does.  Her name is Becki Owens and she is located in Orange County.  Her blog is so informative, and has several categories (a few:  How-to, Get-the-look, Before and After) that helped inspire me for the look I wanted in my master bathroom.  In addition to home interior she also has a category for fashion, favorite finds and holiday.   I just love her taste!!!  Here is the link to her blog:  “beckiowens”

My other go-to resource for this project has been Studio McGee out of Salt Lake City.  What I like about Studio McGee is that in addition to a blog they also have an on-line shop as well as youtube videos to share many of beautiful homes they have designed.  I could watch these videos non-stop….their creations are simply gorgeous!  Check out Studio McGee: “studiomcgee”

Here are some of the photos I have been gathering that have inspired me for my remodel project.  I am so hopeful the end result will look as good as some of these.


I am a bit obsessed with this shower door which is called GridScape.  I have to have it!  Funny, that here in the SF Bay area there are only two shower stores that carry this shower door and panels as well as install it.  I had to do a bit of research but I am sure the end result will be well worth the hunt!


Here is another version of the shower door.  I also love the subway tiles with the dark charcoal grout paired with the mosaic cement tiles.  I plan to do a similar combination.

I decided on a white beveled 3×6 subway tile for my shower and backslash.  I found these tiles at several tile shops varying in price from $8.95-$9.95 a square foot.  I don’t know what made me decide to go to home depot but I am glad I did – they had the exact same tiles for .33 a tile which I think was about $3.95 a square foot – a good savings!

It’s kinda funny that right near my house there is an industrial area with so many building shops and showrooms (tile, plumbing, cabinets….etc).  This was so great and convenient, and made it super easy to find materials.  There is a great showroom called Da Vinci Marble and they have an amazing selection of tile, marble, porcelain, stone, granite, etc –  it is so overwhelming in there.  It’s a good thing I went in knowing what I wanted, otherwise I would never have been able to make up my mind.  They really have a beautiful selection.   I was so excited when I found out that they had cement tiles from France, and immediately found what I was looking for.  These tiles are so stylish and really add personality to any room.  My heart was really set on this look, and if I didn’t find the cement tiles at Da Vinci, I was going to order it from The Cement Tile Shop – they have a huge selection.  Check it out if you like cement tile “cement”

Here is what I selected for the shower floor  – the rest of the bathroom will be a charcoal 12×24 porcelain tile with a cement colored grout.  Actually, if you look closely at the 2nd photo there is a small rectangular tile on the left side – this is the one I got.  It looks black in this photo but its actually a dark gray with a very, very thin lined texture to it.




Love, love the gold fixtures with the black.  I plan to do a mix of gold and black fixtures with black doors and black interior window trim.


I love the large charcoal porcelain tiles with the white/cement colored grout.  As I mentioned above, I  plan to do something similar with 12×24 tiles.    Here, they used chrome fixtures, but I really like the black, charcoal and white paired with the gold/aged brass – I think it has more of an impact.

I ended up deciding on a black vanity which I found at Restoration Hardware (btw – they are now called RH).  It’s a gorgeous black double vanity with gold hardware with a white Carrara marble top.  Now……I am still waiting on this item – let me tell you……It takes 3 months to get it!   I have heard several stories – last was that it is a custom item (not sure if I believe this or not), and kinda got a run-around on the “custom” part.  Anyways,  RH now has a member program that is an annual $100, and members get a discounted price as well as 20% off all sale merchandise.   They do have a nice selection for the bathroom, and I ended up getting my shower fixtures from them, as well as some rings and hooks.  I went with their aged brass finish.    Incidentally, there bathroom faucets and fixtures are made by Newport Brass out of Orange County, CA, so if you want to mix and match items you can mix RH items with Newport Brass items which extends the options available.   I went with Newport Brass for my faucets as I really wanted this shape.  This is called East Square, mine will have straight handles not the criss-cross, and this is not the finish I am getting either, it’s more like the RH aged brass like shown on the RH shower head I am getting (shown below the faucet)




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Here is the Hutton Double Vanity in Black – Mine will have a solid white top.

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Lastly, I should probably mention a very important element of any room – LIGHTING…..oh, so extremely important especially in a bathroom.  We are adding additional LED recessed ceiling lighting as well as sconces with gold tones, similar what is shown above.

Anyways, this is an idea on where I am heading with this project.  Fingers crossed it all comes together like I have planned.  I am certain that there will be some bumps in the road,  but I will try and go with the flow.

Pop Up Dinner!

Just a quick post to share a table set I did a few weeks ago.   We had friends in town from Istanbul and decided last minute to do a quick dinner at our house.


I know, I know…..I should have taken some photos of Xavier’s GREAT family style meal (and yes, it did include gratin potatoes) Of course it was absolutely delicious….I need to see if Xavier took any photos to share.  But this post is about my table (LOL).

I used a table runner that I bought years ago in Hawaii as the foundation for my table design.  To be honest I think it is really a bed runner – but hey, I like it as a table runner.   I just love the soft green color and how it pairs with my Simon Pearce celadon green dinner plates.



I have had these plates for over 20 years and I am still not tired of them.  These were our everyday plates (until my new Heath came along)….but honestly, I kind of miss using them everyday.  Not only are they durable, they are also beautiful and make any table set special.  They are hand-made in Quechee, Vermont with exceptional craftsmanship and are designed to last generations. (and last they do!)  Simon Pearce is probably most known for glassblowing. Their lead-free glassware is timeless-simplicity as well as elegant.  I especially love their champagne flutes!  Makes having champagne even more special.   Have a look at their website to see their great pottery and glassware collection.  Check out “here”.

I used a gorgeous Le Jacquard Français napkin called Papillion yellow.  I think this is a discontinued pattern.  Now, to me nobody does color combinations like LJF.  I am addicted to these table cloths and linens, which are either 100% cotton or linen, wash up like a dream, and really don’t need to be ironed (unless they are linen).   I posted before about the Alsatian Beauville table linens which I adore as well, but they tend to be more wrinkled when they come out of the dryer and I am inclined to iron them before using.  With LFJ this step really is not necessary (guess it depends how picky you are).  Take a look at these colors – Yellow with orange, lilac, raspberry and celadon green – stunning!  Think of all the table top options you could do with these!  I have the placemats in this one as well and they are so fresh and sunny.  Check out the LJF website “here”.



Okay….I got a bit carried away about my table linens.  I can’t forget the other pops of color I used to brighten my table.  Of course, I used my Glassybabys.  Glassybaby hand-blown votive candle holders can quickly and easily brighten any table.  I picked out some colors from my collection that would compliment the Papillion napkins.  I think I used 5 Glassybabys, and I put a sunny peach colored Gerber daisy in between each GB all the way down my table.  I probably have about 20 GBs in my collection.  There are so many great colors to choose from….it’s really hard to decide.  I have to thank my friend Colleen who lives in Seattle, where GBs originated, for introducing me to Glassybaby.  She has created a monster, but I have no where near the collection of babies that she has.  Glassybabys are now sold at several locations here in the SF bay area, in addition to a glassblowing studio in Berkley, and of course on-line.  Take a look at the Glassbaby website and see for yourself  what all the fuss is about. “here”.   It’s also worth reading about all the charities and donations that are made with a GB purchase.   A little note that GB does a second’s sale.  I have seen photos of it on Instagram and it looked crazy but probably worth going to!

So….for my last little table touch I also like to use a colored water glasses – in this case I used orange.  Speaking of water – I always offer both a still and mineral water to my dinner guests.   I am HUGE fan of Gerolsteiner mineral water from Germany.  “here”  Not only does it taste good, it is full of so many beneficial and healthy minerals.  Check out there mineral water comparison on their website and trust me you won’t drink any other mineral water.  You can buy it at Trader Joe’s and I think it’s like $1.00/bottle – so cheap!

Well, this about covers it for my pop up table.  I am already wondering about what I will be using for my next tablescape – I am thinking I need to take advantage of the pink peonies that I am seeing right now – I have a LJF tablecloth in Papillion RED – and it has pink in it.  You will have to wait and see……