‘Food is a love language’: Local native publishes ‘Tides: A La Jolla Cookbook’

La Jolla native Kristin Elise Link, author of "Tides: A La Jolla Cookbook"
La Jolla native Kristin Elise Link, author of “Tides: A La Jolla Cookbook,” says, “I’m totally self-taught; I learned everything from the Food Network, Instagram and MasterClass [online classes].”

Like many of us did when the COVID-19 pandemic confined people to their homes, La Jolla native Kristin Elise Link started to get creative in the kitchen — perfecting a Greek lemon soup recipe, learning to shuck oysters and experimenting with vegan tacos. But unlike most of us, Link took to social media to share her culinary achievements.

Motivated by those who wanted her recipes and techniques, Link put together a cookbook for friends and family called “Tides: A La Jolla Cookbook.” Soon after its publication, Hi Sweetheart boutique in The Village started to carry it but couldn’t keep it on the shelves.

“It was a passion project that just took off,” Link said. “During the lockdown, I was posting [to Instagram] a lot of what I was making from home, and people wanted recipes and how to make it. I’m totally self-taught; I learned everything from the Food Network, Instagram and MasterClass [online classes]. I get a lot of inspiration from others and by local ingredients.”

"Tides: A La Jolla Cookbook" is sold at Hi Sweetheart boutique in The Village.

Without a particular theme, the book has sections focusing on meats, chicken, seafood, vegetarian items, baked goods and cocktails.

“Basically a mixture of everything I love to make,” Link said. “I wanted to do some vegan vegetarian items because people are tending to eat more plant-based, so that was an important section to include.”

A personal favorite for her is the Hendricks Family Irish Stew because it was the first dish her boyfriend made for her, inspired by his mother’s recipe. However, because Link adheres to a gluten-free diet, the dish calls for red wine instead of beer, plus some changes to the herbs, she said.

“By using wine, it changes the herbs you would use, so this recipe calls for dried cumin, thyme and coriander to go with the wine. It gives it a great flavor,” she said.

Other recipes also came from friends and family members, such as a miso salmon dish inspired by La Jolla Realtor and co-worker Marilyn Noonan.

“I’m passionate about food and trying other people’s recipes and sharing it with others,” Link said. “There is a connection in creating something in the kitchen and sharing the joy that comes out with others so they can in turn share with their loved ones. Food is a love language, it really is. My favorite thing to say when someone comes over is ‘Have you eaten yet?’”

Though Link aims to create a home filled with homemade meals, that isn’t the house she grew up in.

“My mom used to make frozen corn dogs and I grew up on mac and cheese,” she said, laughing. “So my culinary interest started in high school watching food shows and doing it myself. There is so much you can learn online, and I used MasterClass. I really zoned in on the chefs and watched them. Martha Stewart is my idol.”

When it came to producing the book, Link turned to a program used by her employer, Greg Noonan of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, to produce real estate books.

“Because we have used this program before, I already knew what it would look like, so I got it going and ordered a bunch and it has taken off,” Link said.

Molly Rossettie, owner of Hi Sweetheart, said she ordered six or seven copies of “Tides” and they were gone in a few days.

“We have more visitors coming back to La Jolla and they want something unique and beach-themed to take home, so I thought it was a fun thing for us to carry,” Rossettie said.

Is this just the beginning of Link’s culinary career?

“My dream would be to open a bar in Bird Rock called Tides. I have had this vision in my mind forever,” she said. “The main focus would be around this bar but include local food and things that are in my cookbook. Who knows? It could happen one day!”

“Tides” can be purchased at Hi Sweetheart at 7920 Ivanhoe Ave. Learn more at ◆