Q + A with Chefs Jim Sullivan + Alex Bolar of San Diego & Los Angeles

So thrilled to find our way back to collaborating with people who are passionate their craft. 

We’ve known the talented San Diego Chef & Photographer Jim Sullivan for since our early lark days and through the culinary connection haven known as The Hood Kitchen Space in Costa Mesa.

Chef Jim Sullivan

Chef Sullivans love for food + film have led him to various kitchens around the world from sandy surf shacks to Michelin Star restaurants. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious––and it’s just what we need at this moment. 

Chef Sullivan introduces to Chef Alejandro Bolar who comes from a background of his own supper club Eclair in Atlanta, Georgia and who currently finds his way creating delicious meals in various kitchens throughout Los Angeles and surroundings via kala

Chef Alex Bolar

We are looking forward to creating a super fun (& delicious) lark with these two chefs, who will be taking full creative control of the menu. 

We invite you along for the ride through this introductory Q & A:

Q. How do you two know each other?

Jim: I’ve known Alex for some time now. We originally met one another while cooking at a friend’s restaurant in Atlanta a few years ago.

Alex: We met in Atlanta at a restaurant called Better Half and then on a subsequent trip to California we met up again. We’ve been wanting collaborate for a while, definitely looking forward to creating some magic.

Q. What led you to lark? 

Jim: I’ve always admired the Lark events and have worked with Lisa a few times in the past, both as a chef and photographer.

Alex: Jim said had a friend…he showed me your instagram and I was in.

Q. How did you arrive in the culinary scene?

Jim: I basically grew up in the restaurant industry, starting at the age of 14. After having a long career in the medical field I decided to go back to school. I graduated from culinary school in 2007. Since then I’ve been doing pop ups, staging and being part of the restaurant industry as a professional food photographer.

Alex: My brothers and I are super competitive from who can catch the most or biggest fish to seeing who make the best burger.  During these times I noticed that cooking was fun and I had a natural gravitation towards it. During a semester off from college worked Silver Star deli and that introduced me to the commercial kitchen.

Q. Yay or nay to culinary school?

Jim: I did graduate from culinary school and while it was a great experience, I don’t think it’s necessary to become a great cook/chef. If a young person is motivated and can gain knowledge/experience under a great chef then I would suggest that route.

Alex: I went to culinary school and I met cool people along the way, but restaurants teach much more. For someone with a late start, they should consider a school… but if you have the time, working in a restaurant is the school of hard knocks — you’ll have no choice but to learn. 

Q. What is your most treasured memory when it comes to food?

Jim: For me that would be working as a young adult/teen at an Italian restaurant in my hometown. This is where I spent my formative years learning the ins and outs of the industry.

Alex: Fierce competitive cooking with my brother Kyle Bolar. 

Q. Can you share an impressive elevated dining experience?

Jim: I really like what Outstanding in the Field does. Jim Denevan travels around the country working with local farmers and local chefs. Together they create a fantastic dining experience. I’ve had the pleasure of both eating and working with his team a few times and I absolutely love what they do.

Alex: Atomix in New York City offered a 16 course meal. Korean fine dining. Also, Wolvesmouth in Hollywood was pretty amazing. 

Q. What advice do you have for people who want to become chefs?

Jim: Do it because you love it. Don’t do it expecting accolades, money or fame. Do it for the passion, love of food. I realize that sounds cliche but honestly it’s the truth. 

Alex: Always be willing to learn something new. With food, there is so much to learn. 

Q. What is your most treasured ingredient?

Jim: It used to be fresh seafood like uni or abalone. But as time goes by I’m learning to appreciate and use vegetables more.

Alex: A squeeze lemon on everything! 

Q. What is your go-to dish when cooking for yourself? 

Jim: Fried rice or Congee, using anything that’s left in the fridge.

Alex: Rice with soft egg and chili crunch.

Q. What is your go-to dish when cooking for others?

Jim: That would depend on the season and what is currently inspiring me. Recently it was using stone fruit.

Alex: Always something chicken based because it’s more familiar to people and there is no variation when it comes to cooking, i.e. raw, seared, etc….

Q. Who are your heroes?

Jim: Alex Bolar (wink wink)

Alex: My parents who are both self-employed, I am witness to them creating a life and lifestyle. 

Q. What phrase or word to you use too often?

Jim: F*ck

Alex: “My Man”… an ode to Denzel Washington! 

Q. As we are now navigating new seas, do you have any thoughts on the future of dining?

Jim: Man, that’s a tough one. I think the way restaurants are going to run for the foreseeable future has changed. Considering the rising costs of ingredients and the pandemic restaurants are dying off or barely hanging on. I see restaurants pivoting to more of a fast casual model, or dining halls. No longer are you going to fine dining or upper echelon restaurants unless you’re willing to cough up $300 or more per seat.

Alex: Restaurant owners will adapt to meet the needs of their employees. The gap is closing between fine dining and comfort food. Fine dining chefs are creating burgers and comfort food has become more acceptable. 

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Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Come on a lark with us!

3/26/22 at our favorite designer playground known as Urban Americana in Long Beach.

Menu + More TBA!

Guerrilla Lark | The Jetty Corona del Mar, CA

💛Because we like to think outside…(the box).

Looking at the horizon on a super fun guerrilla lark with Lisa Martinez + Christina Peterson at The Jetty CdM.
Lisa Martinez, Christina Peterson, Jim Sullian & Alex Bolar on a super fun guerrilla lark at CdM. Winter 2022.

Thrilled to connect with Chef Jim Sullivan (who is also a culinary photographer), fellow creative-meets-practical Christina Peterson, and (new to the L.A. scene) Chef Alex Bolar.

Chef Jim Sullivan on a super fun guerrilla lark in Corona del Mar. Winter 2022.


This super fun guerrilla lark (creative sesh) on The Jetty at Corona Del Mar finds us having fun, enjoying food & conversation while creating the good vibes for an upcoming lark communal dinner party!

Many thanks to Chef Huskey at The Jetty restaurant for serving up these delicious classic burgers + perfectly spicy cauliflower “wings”… a reminder that, in Chef Alex Bolar’s words, the pandemic has closed the gap between fine dining and comfort food.

Thoroughly enjoyed on a super fun guerrilla lark, thanks to @thejettycdm
Good and good for you. Splurging on some spicy caulflower wings thanks to @thejettycdm

📸 by the talented @jameshudddy who we met way back when on a lark at Maia’s cottage in Laguna Beach-so fun! We were thrilled to hear the occasion inspired him to create backyard dinner parties of his own, the best!

Create. Collaborate. Elevate.

The date for our lark to be announced soon!

#create #collaborate #elevate #dreamersanddoers #creativesession #makingplans #letslark #lark #popup #communal #dinnerparties #californiastyle #food #wine #fashion #design #inspiration #conversation #chefsmenu #goodtimes #goodvibes #socialdining #socal #coastaloc #winter2022

Lark x Merkatö

We love that lark has become a platform for talented people who are passionate about their craft. Hence, we are thrilled to introduce Chef Taylor Elam of Merkatö. We met pre-pandemic and reconnected on (nearly?) the other side as our first opportunity to create + collaborate arrives 12/2/21 in the form of a private pop, with equally passionate guests, at the super hip Cleobella Boutique in Sunset Beach. 

Here’s a fun Q + A to understand why our chefs always have creative control of the menu!

Where are you from and where do you live now? 

From : San Juan Capistrano, California

Current : Newport Beach, California

What is your earliest memorable culinary experience?

I was probably 4 or 5 years old. It was chopping vegetables with my grandma & mother for Sunday dinners. 

What drives you to create food?

To always be better than your last plate.

We feel there is an expression or feeling you want to share with your craft? Are we onto something?

Absolutely. The satisfaction I get when people tell me that was one of the most unique preparations of an ingredient they’ve ever experienced. Those compliments reassure that all those years of hard work have paid off. 

You’ve worked in a quite a few kitchens, can you drop some names or share some highlights (thinking style, pace, vibe, high/low)?

Fleur de Lys, San Francisco – Modern French, classic & fun.  At the time they had a Michelin star. It’s where I got my start as a prep cook during my externship upon graduating culinary school. It’s also the kitchen thats responsible for me growing up. Hubert Keller is one of the nicest French chefs on the planet. That’s saying a lot haha. 

Spago, Beverly Hills – fast paced, elegant & militant. Hands down the toughest kitchen I’ve worked in. 4-6 hundred covers a night. Celebrities & Hollywood socialites were the norm. Expectations were firing high on all levels daily. The hyper focus I learned on technique, balance, detail &  seasonality helped mold me into the chef I am today. 

What should people know about fine dining?

It’s a whole other planet. It can make or break a young cook in the best possible way. It takes a certain kind of person to dedicate themselves to that world. 

What is behind the name Merkatö?

Merkatö translates to market in the esperanto language aka “International Language”. Esperanto doesnʼt belong to a particular nation it belongs to a community of people.

It’s known as a supranational language. Like many others itʼs used to communicate its culture, literature & magazines. Unlike all other languages, Esperanto does not have its own country, nor its own people. Instead, it belongs to itʼs community. We belong to a community.

Merkatö is a new concept launched during the pandemic, can you elaborate on the concept?

Breaking bread will always bring people together. We endeavor to use that language to tell stories, share space, invite partnerships and raise awareness of the farm-to-table process. 

We approach our work and our community with humility. We believe in sustainability and infuse it in all that we do. We respect ingredients, in recipes and in people.

Everyone is unique and deserves a personalized experience. We foster transparency in our work because we are proud of our ingredients, our partners, our employees and our achievements. Everyone is welcome at our table. No exceptions.

Merkatö (and/or your culinary quests) also has had other twists & turns. We like to see you hanging in there, how do you visualize Merkatö evolving?

Merkatö is evolving every day. Food is still the focal point & always will be, but I envision it to grow to so much more than that. Education, product development & destination dinners are new ideas I’ve been working on this last year. I have a small line of products that were approved by the FDA. I see it becoming more of a lifestyle brand as well haha. That sounds funny to me when I say that, but it feels like it having so many layers & ideas. Exciting stuff for the future!

What is your most marked culinary characteristic? 

I am very lucky to work with & highlight some amazing products here in the golden state. I am not a plant based chef by any means. I do love opening peoples minds with vegetable cookery & treating them as you would your favorite wagyu steak. 

Who is on your food prep playlist? 

Oh man hahah. I love everything. Really depends on the menu. Some of my cooking favorites the Grateful Dead, muddy waters, the Allman brothers, Skinshape, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Wilson Pickett, toots & the Maytals, Iggy Pop, Wu Tang, Bobby Womack, Social D. I could go for ever haha.

What ingredient can you not live without?

Quality olive oil.

Culinary school, yay or nay? 

Yay,  City College of San Francisco.

What not so obvious thing should people know about pursuing a career as a Chef?

It’s not as glamorous as the media portrays it. It has its glamorous moments, but there’s typically many years of sweat & tears before applause.

For those who cook at home, what is one easy must do tip you can give them?

Don’t compromise quality. 

Who are your heroes?

Anthony Bourdain

Jeremy Fox 

Paul Bocuse 

Andy doubrava 

Thomas Keller

David Chang

Alain Ducasse

Charlie Trotter

Huebert Keller 

Chris Consentino 

Brandon Jew

Sean Brock 

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Although this lark is a private pop, we invite you along through our images & stories.

Q + A with Victoria Kennedy of Kennedy Contemporary in Newport Beach, CA

During the summer had a fun little creative session with Victoria Kennedy who happened to open her first Art Gallery (next to Kean Coffee in Newport Beach in March 2020 and never looked back. Follow our Q + A session below to learn a bit more about this determined and inspiring Gallerist:

Where were you born and raised—and where do you live now? 

I was born in San Marino and raised in Corona del Mar/Newport Beach. It was always my goal to leave the OC bubble (which I did for a period of time!), but I am so glad to be back as an adult. My husband and I live in Westside Costa Mesa and we love the creative community out here. 

Did you dabble or immerse yourself in art growing up? 

Definitely! One of my first art experiences outside of high school was taking a summer drawing course at LCAD. It was an incredibly challenging (and humbling) experience that gave me a lot of respect for artists. Similarly, I took an oil painting course at Stanford University and realized that my skill was not in creating art (ha!). But having experience in working with different artistic mediums gave me an understanding for how the materials work and how difficult it is to create unique and coherent art.

What led you to Stanford University? 

I had always had my heart set on Stanford as my parents met there when they were undergraduates and I had many fond memories of the campus and community. Luckily, I was recruited to play water polo at Stanford, so it was a natural fit! 

What did you “learn to embrace” about Northern California? 

Living in Northern California was really my first time immersed in the beautiful diversity of thought, culture, religion and ethnicity. I really embraced the openness and willingness to learn from others different from myself. 

Victoria Kennedy at Kennedy Contemporary
@kennedycontemporary

We understand you lived abroad for a spell, how does your experience inform your present day approach to life? 

After four years at Stanford, I spent a fifth year studying at Oxford University and using that time to travel and get my fill of academic life. Afterwards, I worked for Backroads, a luxury active travel company, and moved to France to lead tours in Normandy and Brittany.

Life abroad taught me two things: don’t be afraid to ask for help and be open to new experiences. There were times when I couldn’t figure out the best cell phone plan, how to pay road tolls, French dining etiquette, etc. Just asking for advice or assistance shows that you’re willing to put in the effort to integrate with the locals and connect! And ultimately, life is all about human connection. 

What is your greatest culinary pleasure?

I LOVE throwing dinner parties, which was why I love the concept of Lark! My go-to dinner is a roast chicken – most of it is done ahead of time, which gives you ample time to socialize with your guests and relax. And the leftovers can often last the whole week!

Tabletop on a guerrilla lark at Kennedy Contemporary
features @lunareece.ceramics

What is one of your favorite culinary experiences?

When I lived in London, my roommate and I put on an American Thanksgiving for all of our British and international friends. Our oven broke that morning (and luckily got replaced the day-of!), but we managed to make a whole turkey, apple + pecan pie, stuffing, and a salad. We had a blast sharing the traditions of the meal with our friends over many bottles of wine!

What was your first introduction to art?

In high school, I took AP Art History with John Gunnin. I loved learning about history through the lens of art and thoroughly enjoyed the course. It made me want to pursue a minor in Art History at Stanford.

What epiphany about art carries you to where you are today? 

All art is contemporary. Meaning every piece is created of its own time and in relation to that day, month, or year when it was conceived. Understanding this helps to put art in context, and context is everything! It’s why we praise Jackson Pollock even though paint splatters seem so trivial and amateurish.

You can look at a piece of art and think “I love this,” which is the most important step to collecting art. You have to love it. The second step is understanding why it was created and why its creation is significant.

Coppers Tritscheller Sculpture at Kennedy Contemporary
@coppertritscheller

One of your favorite things is helping people find the right pieces of art for their home—any inspiring stories  (or advice) to share? 

When we first opened, we had a client stop by the gallery briefly while at Susie Cakes. Immediately, they grabbed their partner and pulled them into the gallery to see an artwork. They bought it on the spot! 

The best part of my job is developing long term relationships with my artists and clients. Although I have been in the contemporary art world for years, it’s been really encouraging to cultivate relationships with new clients as a gallerist representing my own artists. There’s a beauty to investing long term in our artists’ careers and sharing their stories with our clients.

Texture, color, vibe at Kennedy Contemporary
@_joejustus

You started a community called The Bohemians Women’s Club what was the catalyst for that? 

Yes! I started the Bohemian Women’s Club in partnership with Ali Faulkner from AEF Interiors. We had both recently moved to the area, started businesses, and wanted to expand our professional networks of like-minded women. Since April, we’ve grown our network to about forty local women and host monthly events to connect with and support each other. It’s been awesome to buy from/partner with local women-owned businesses like the Grazing KitchenCabaneArgaux, the Regina Oswald Collection, and (of course) Lark…!

What is the greatest myth about the Art world? 

That you need to have a masters or PhD in Art History to understand and buy art… you don’t! Many of our clients buy art because they love it and want something beautiful and meaningful to enrich their lives. You can certainly educate yourself by going to galleries, fairs, auctions, and maybe taking a course in art history, but ultimately it’s about what you love and want to live with. 

We know you also love furniture…how did that come about?

If I could outfit my entire home with Sean Woolsey‘s furniture… I would! But for now, I’m happy to showcase some of his pieces in our gallery. Sean was super kind to lend us some of his pieces to create a comfortable gallery environment. One of our artists, Heather Zusman, actually used to work for Sean which initially spurred her interest in woodworking!

Woolsey chair at Kennedy Contemporary
@thewoolsey + @_joejustus

If you could be anything other than an Art Curator / Gallerist, what would it be? 

I am very happy being a gallerist and probably wouldn’t want to do anything else full time. I’m a true believer that you make the time for things that are important to you. For me, I’ve continued working out, writing and recording songs, going on long walks/hikes with friends, and traveling all while building and running the gallery. Maybe in the future, that will shift and I will renew my scuba diving certification or take a sommelier course (which are on my list of things to do!).

Kennedy Contemporary | @kennedycontemporary

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Guerrilla Lark The Wedge | Art of Picnic Newport Beach, California

Because there is so much beauty in doing.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

We are thrilled to have discovered a fun + fast way to get our creative juices flowing, lift each other up, and thank our collaborators.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA
Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

As good as it looks! Fresh, delicious platter of beautiful arranged Crudités by the multi-talented @kaileeinthekitchen .

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

We loved incorporating these colorful hand-stitched flags by artist Scott Richards of @slightlychoppy paying homage to the good times to the past, present and future of our local surf culture.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Wintering in Southern California finds us with our sweaters off, but close at hand in case of a cool breeze or cloud cover.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Thrilled to have the talented food blogger + photographer @kaileeinthekitchen capture the moment and the good energy of patisserie @mcakesweets — both enhancing this dreamy vibe! 

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Of course you will always find @lunareececeramics gorgeous ceramic plates adorning our communal table as well as a little white jumpsuit love from stylist @maysonhauck
💛.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA
Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

A minimalistic bundle of dried florals by one our favorite florist @frenchbuckets of Lido Marina Village and Laguna Beach repurposed again + again.

Image captured on a super fun guerrilla lark by @kaileeinthekitchen at The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA

Create. Collaborate. Elevate. Come on a lark with us!

# # #

Because it really has been a long cold winter, we feel it’s time to warm things up! Our next adventure finds us setting our communal table on Saturday 2/29/20 at the gorgeous Isles Interiors in Newport Beach with the talented Chef Kyle Powers.

Saturday, February 29, 2020, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Isles Interiors 

367 Old Newport Blvd.
Newport Beach, California 92663
(cross streets: Newport Beach Blvd. & Hospital Road)

$125. per person, all-inclusive food & drinks by Chef Kyle Powers 
Purchase Tickets*: 
Let’s Go On A Lark! 
*Non-refundable/absolutely transferable

Modern. Organic. Inspirational. Social Dining. Come on a lark with us!

Orange Coast Magazine: Off-The-Grid Dining Events

Thrilled to be featured in Orange Coast Magazine’s “Hidden” Issue (Oct. 2018) . Here’s the story behind the image, if you want to know more, you’ll have to come on a lark with us!

October 2018

Last winter we were fortunate to dine with friends – old and new – soaking up the hip vibes at the beautifully understated and modern aesthetic of Isles Interiors in Newport Beach while enjoying conversation between spoonfuls of piping hot Mortadella + Lobster Chowder.

The timely cold weather transported us home to simpler times. Thanks to all who gathered at the communal table to make this an evening to remember including @lunareececeramics + @theurbanspring. Special thanks to Maria & Max Isles.

Photo credit to MB.Maher.com

+ + + + +

Four Course Menu crafted by the talented Chef Kyle Powers of Fork In the Road Catering and Wine Pairing by wine aficionado Tyler Rodriguez.

Starters:  Spicy mango shrimp on avocado toast
Welcome drink: Corn Whiskey Old Fashion

On the table + Paired with Wine 

1/Shaved mushroom salad w/pecorino fennel cilantro and onion vinaigrette 2/Mortadella & lobster chowder 3/Advieh spiced lamb chop, braised lamb, with melting Yukon potato & fried greens 4/Pistachio ice cream in cinnamon tart, saffron apricot culi & spicy pear

>>>Veggie Option <<<

1/Shaved mushroom salad w/pecorino fennel cilantro & onion vinaigrette
2/Chili broth w/Farro & Beans
3/Roasted cabbage wedge w/melting potato and fried greens

On a super fun lark at Isles Interiors in Newport Beach