La Jollans in the Limelight

Chef Ramon Bojorquez

By Ashley Mackin

Several residents of La Jolla are showcasing their talent in the culinary, photography and history fields, with spots on TV and in the literary world.


MasterChef ... almost

La Jolla resident Natasha Crnjac made it to the top two of FOX’s primetime cooking competition show, “MasterChef,” hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. However, she fell short of the big prize.

In the season finale, which aired Sept. 11, Crnjac and eventual winner Luca Manfe had to create a three- course meal to impress the judges in front of a live audience, including previously eliminated contestants and the competitor’s friends and family.

Ramsay jokingly questioned whether, for the first time, two winners could be named. In the end, judge and celebrity chef Graham Elliot said one chef had just the slightest edge, and named Manfe the winner.

Crnjac said during the finale, “I’ve learned so much and I’ve grown, and it’s not the end. This is just going to catapult me in the direction I want to be.”

Top Chef ... maybe

Chef Ramon Bojorquez
As one La Jolla chef’s time on TV temporarily wraps, another’s is just getting fired up. Ramon Bojorquez, sous chef at NINE-TEN restaurant at the Grande Colonial, will compete on Bravo’s Emmy- winning cooking competition show, “Top Chef,” which premiered 10 p.m. Oct. 2. Bojorquez previously worked at the Marine Room in La Jolla and was educated in the Le Cordon Bleu program

at the Scottsdale Culinary School.

Per Bravo’s


, “He grew up watching his grandfather cook, and carries a considerable amount of Mexican, Spanish and Thai influence in his cuisine.” Bojorquez said he believes the combination of peppers, cilantro and lime can be used in almost any dish.

Hosted by Padma Lakshmi and judged by celebrity chefs Tom Cholicchio, Emeril Lagasse, Gail Simmons and Hugh Acheson, “Top Chef” is entering its 11th season and will be filmed in New Orleans.

Update: Chef Bojorquez was eliminated in the premiere episode and will not be continuing on the show.


Faces of Widowhood

Judith Fox’s latest photo book, “One Foot Forward: Stories and Faces of Widows and Widowers,” was published in September. La Jollans make up three of the 20 people photographed for the book, which Fox said contains “beautiful portraits to document bereavement, acceptance and perseverance in the face of the life-altering death of a spouse.”

It’s the follow up to her 2009 photo book, “I Still Do: Loving and Living with Alzheimer’s,” about Fox’s husband.

The book is available through

and Fox said 100 percent of the sales from the book will be donated to National Hospice Foundation.

A History of Salk

Suzanne Bourgeois, professor emeritus and founding director of the Regulatory Biology Laboratory at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, wrote “Genesis of The Salk Institute,” which was published Sept. 7.

Bourgeois said over the years, she read many books that ended with Jonas Salk’s invention of the Polio vaccine in 1955, which she feels is just the beginning of the story. Having been involved with the Salk Institute for 50 years, she has seen the importance of the founders of the Institute to the scientific community at large.

“I’m the only one who could write this book because I know the whole story,” she joked. But of the longtime scientists she queried to compile the book, she said “Somebody had to tell the story before everyone is gone.”

The book has a little to do with science, but is mostly about the people who helped establish the Institute and influence the history of La Jolla. An e-book and hardcover version is available at

by clicking on “United States History,” but there is also a Kindle version.

Halloween in New York

Treaters - book cover
A photo book documenting the infamous New York City Halloween parade by former La Jollan Scott Laperruque was released on Sept. 20. Available by demand

, “Treaters: Greenwich Village Halloween Parade 1982 to 1986” shows the costumes, floats, and large scale puppets that roamed the streets on Halloween during the Greenwich Village Parade in New York City.

“Some of the shots were at a low angle, as if viewed by a child trick-or-treater, while others were five stories in the air,” Laperruque said. “I wanted a rounded documentation of the parade: individual portraits, groups, crowds and the neighborhood itself.”

The majority of the 113 photographs are in black and white, and Laperruque warns that some of the photos are racy. In 2012, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the parade had to be cancelled. Half the profits from the hardcover and eBook will be donated to the parade organization, Laperruque said.