Local photographer Sam Peck has recently released two quite lovely coffee table books: Coastal Zen and Central Coast Farmers Market Soups.
The first, Coastal Zen, presents postcard-worthy views of the Central Coast. It’s a collection of breathtaking beauty, and even succeeds, on occasion, in offering a fresh look at an over-photographed region. Amid the sunsets and silhouettes of Morro Rock, Peck shows us how a cresting wave can resemble an enormous wall of glass; how a Cambria tidepool can become an alien world.
The second, a collaboration with chef Stephanie Burchiel, is part cookbook. Twenty-eight of Burchiel’s original soup recipes are paired with Peck’s images of farms, farmers, farmers markets, and seductively fresh produce (have you ever stopped to admire the elegant curves of a wild mushroom’s or the fractal whorls of a Romanesco?). In the accompanying text, Cayucos native Burchiel—who once owned the Morro Bay vegetarian eatery Shine Café—weaves her own stories of life on the Central Coast throughout these delicious recipes. Her soups are inspired by the local farmers markets, and are grouped according to season: Fennel Beat, Cream of Portobello, and Chanterelle Barley to get you through the winter; Golden Beet Carrot and Green Minestrone to hearken the arrival of spring. Summer offers the year’s most exotic flavors, with Lavender Peach and Coconut Lemongrass standing out among the season’s offerings.
Peck has traveled the world since his childhood. He began working for Scandinavian Airlines in 1968, later joining Thai Airways, transferring from L.A. to Bangkok to Seattle over the course of many years. While working as advertising manager for the airline’s Bangkok headquarters, Peck traveled throughout Europe and Asia photographing the destinations Thai Airways served. After leaving the airline, Peck worked as a brand consultant at Boeing in Seattle. Several years ago, he relocated to Cayucos, where he revived his passion for photography.
You can purchase Central Coast Farmers Market Soups ($28.95) and Coastal Zen ($35) at farmersmarketpublishing.com. To view more of Peck’s work, visit coastalzen.net. For more information on Burchiel, visit farmersmarketsoup.com.