One of life’s many treasures that I value highly is the occasional serendipitous experience that brightens my day and sometimes opens doors to people and places and opportunities that would otherwise remain unknown and unrealized. One such incident occurred earlier this month when I glimpsed something in the gutter in front of our house just as I was about to round the corner heading for Lakeshore. When I stopped to investigate, I found an electronic gadget attached to a photo ID from the San Francisco Art Institute for someone named Rick Wise.
I managed to track Rick down online; learned that he lives just up the hill from me; discovered that he had enjoyed a long career as a cinematographer including a stint at KQED; was now semi-retired and concentrating on still photography while continuing to teach film and video lighting courses at the Academy of Art University. Later, when Rick picked up what he identified as a light meter, he explained that as he was getting into his car the day before, he had set it on the hood and forgotten it as he drove off.
When I visited Rick’s online gallery and saw his photos of Lake Merritt and Lakeshore Avenue, I immediately thought of Bay-Made, which had just opened days before – another lovely example of serendipity. At my suggestion, Rick introduced himself to owner Sarajane Bernhisel, who loved his photos and is scheduling him as one of their featured artists early next year.
And yes, there’s yet another layer to this story. Through Rick, I received an online introduction to his wife, Victoria, who:
- Cooked the very first meal (duck with olives) at Chez Panisse in 1971
- Thereafter, owned and operated “Pig-by-the-Tail” – the first charcuterie in the United States.
- Has written a total of fifteen cookbooks (some co-authored with Susanna Hoffman)
- Publishes a monthly cooking blog called the “Wise Kitchen“, which is lavishly illustrated with Rick’s photos.
- And finally, the icing on the cake (actually an apple galette) is that Victoria has kindly agreed to share her most recent, October 23rd blog. If you’re as impressed as I was and wish to subscribe, look for the “follow” button on the lower right corner of the blog page.