In Wendy Van Wagner's Adorable Kitchen (And Inspiring Life)

From Amber


Miss Wendy Van Wagner, isn't she pretty as a flourless pastry? (Which is what she had just finished making when I arrived at her workspace for this photo shoot, pictured above).

Wendy is a Nevada City native who has made her home town proud by opening up In The Kitchen, a hub of local, organic cooking, feasting, and education located in the sweetest little house on a busy Nevada City street. Check out more about her and her work at her websites:

In The Kitchen blog

(The blog features great tips, recipes, and various culinary musings, and is one of my most frequently read blogs.)

In The Kitchen website

(So sweetly designed.)

Wendy's Ladyfest interview

(Read this to really get the scoop on who Wendy is and the fascinating story of how she came to do what she's doing so well. The interview was conducted by my husband Graham as a part of Ladyfest Nevada County, which was dreamt up and organized by our own amazing Sasha!).


Though it is covered in snow here, there is a garden filled with food and herbs in the front yard!

Whenever I run into Wendy around town or at a social gathering I notice how well dressed she is. Not that she's all fancy-schmancy-food-snobby-dressed, just that she always looks good. (And don't even get me started on the sharp styling that her boyfriend Joe- a fabulous cook as well- is always sporting). So I was stoked when she agreed to let me feature her favorite pieces, especially when we decided that the shoot would take place at her warm, airy, spacious, bright, functional, and adorably adorned little home away from home- the In The Kitchen home/business. (She does reside elsewhere, but has made this space very comfortable and spends a lot of time here).

One more thing about Wendy before we get to it, and that's her brother Tim:


Tim is a farmer at Bluebird Farm, a Nevada City farm that supplies the area's grocery stores and farmer's markets with an abundance of fresh, vibrant, organically grown, lovingly tended food and herbs. I just LOVE it that their parents raised two such lovely, ambitious children who are truly making a positive impact on the world and contributing to the well being of their home town community in the most primal and fundamental way- through food. These two make me really excited to someday give Mycelia a sibling and then to watch in awe as they grow into... something amazing.


Image taken from Jacobson Chiroparctic 


Onto the clothes:

This vest was gifted to Wendy from her best friend Cassie McGettican who runs Gravel and Gold. It was Cassie's dad's vest in the 1970s!: 


She thrifted this lovely sheer, silk Chinese blouse in San Fran:


The boots were found at Urban Outfitters, which Joe refers to as a "dark master", but every woman knows that the perfect pair of boots are irreplaceable and worth the money and/or the purchase from an evil retail giant. We don't blame ya Wends. We've been there, and we'll be there again:


Wendy found this gorgeous flamenco-style skirt at the Truckee Hospice Thrift And Gift. She is not at all intimidated by the spectacularly flowing billowyness of it and considers it a perfect skirt for special occasions. I wish I could have seen her wearing it around the Thanksgiving table this year!




This outfit was my favorite! The skirt she found at the fabulous San Francisco vintage shop Painted Bird. She loves to wear it with the *adorable* white eyelet skirt/slip you see in the 3rd picture, which was a Forever 21 purchase from her college days (again, we don't blame ya).


This perfect white cotton blouse was bought at a "really fancy shop in Berkeley. It was one of those items that was insanely expensive for how simple it is, but I had to have it. I have worn it a thousand times." I can see why:


And the leather belt! It's her favorite (would be mine too) because it can pull any outfit together.


This scarf was found at our local thrift store Animal Save. It's just so pretty! Rainbow without being over the top, ya know? She says it's one of her "fave of faves" and that the warmth and colorfulness is perfect for a gloomy winter day. Indeed:



And what style profile of a hip young cook would be complete without getting a look at her vintage apron collection?

Okay this first one has the best "how I found it" story of the three (the other two came from a yard sale around the corner- score!). It came from, get this, a shop in Occidental, CA called Bohemia that sells only vintage items from eastern Europe from the 1970s! I am going there!







Wendy says that her students love wearing the aprons (a fact I can attest to, having been one of those students that was just as excited about the aprons I got to choose from at the beginning of class as the delicious soup we had created by the end of class). She even has some tiny vintage aprons for the younger crowd:


Making garlic salt soup:


I was able to get a few shots of the decor of the place before the pre-dinner toddler meltdown:


This drawing is so spectacular! Wendy bought it in Berkeley when she was living there in an old rotting mansion with other women- it seemed to perfectly reflect the feeling of her own life at the time :-)



Kitchen shelf of dreams:


Ladies in action:


A final look at the lovely lady of the culinary cuteness:


On a personal note, I'd like to thank Wendy and Joe from the bottom of my heart for bringing me food this weekend when I was going through the process of miscarrying (an experience I will be blogging about soon at Nourished Mother) :-(

 It was so thoughtful and made me feel really loved and supported, plus, it was delicious! Mycie kept asking for more of "Joe's beans" :-)

Someday, the Tim to Mycie's Wendy will come...