Lois Stanton cooks up a good life plan in the kitchen biz

Lois Stanton is a Kansas farm girl and graduate of the University of Kansas with a degree in education. She married her high school sweetheart, Bill Stanton, and helped put him through medical school at Washington University in St. Louis.

They moved to San Diego in 1970 for Bill’s residency and fellowship in Hematology and Oncology. When their daughter Lisl was enrolled in nursery school in 1976, Lois began a culinary career. She worked at The Perfect Pan Cookware Shop and Cooking School at Flower Hill. Lois became director of the cooking school, which expanded to five locations in San Diego and Orange County. She worked with Julia Child, Jaques Pepin, Madeleine Kamman, Paula Wolfert and Diana Kennedy.

Lois was founder of the Southern California Culinary Guild and a founding member of the American Institute of Wine and Food (AIWF).

Lois is president of the Social Service League of La Jolla, which owns Darlington House and League House.

What brought you to Social Service League of La Jolla?

I joined the Social Service League in 1987 because two dear friends, Julia Blair and Bennie Green told me to. It has become the primary focus of my volunteerism because I strongly believe in the mission to help others, “There but for fortune go you or I.”

What makes La Jolla special to you?

La Jolla is special to me because of my many friends and family who live here. Between the League and the Village Garden Club of La Jolla, I have so many friends who do good deeds.

If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?

I would like to see the elimination of white chalk on tires. The parking enforcement drives me nuts! If the city wants revenue, give tickets to drivers who make U-turns in the middle of the block to get a parking space on the other side.

Who or what inspires you?

I admire people who survive adversity with a joyful spirit, and those who exhibit positive energy and can-do attitude. I do feel that actions speak louder than words.

If you hosted a dinner party for eight, whom (living or deceased) would you invite?

I enjoy offering my culinary expertise in charity auctions to prepare dinners for hosts who choose their own guests. In this way I get to enjoy many new guests. For two dinner parties at the Darlington House, I will let Susan Oliver and Burry Vincent invite their guests. And Joan Glatthorn bought a second dinner at the League’s Christmas Cabaret Silent Auction. I will be cooking both dinners.

Tell us about what you are currently reading?

The New York restaurateur Danny Meyer’s “Setting the Table.” It focuses on the power of hospitality in business and not just the restaurant business. I also like Judith Jones’ new book “The Pleasures of Cooking for One,” even though I cook for the two of us almost every night.

What is your most-prized possession?

I have three pieces of the late Italo Scanga’s art, which I so enjoy. I also treasure some antique silver from my husband’s family, and an old cast-iron skillet that my uncle made on his Kansas farm.

What do you do for fun?

Trying new restaurants for an aperitif and hors d’oeuvres with friends. It is a great way to experience new places without committing to a full dinner. I also like to watch my favorite movie “South Pacific.”

Please describe your greatest accomplishment

My greatest accomplishments are a 44-year marriage and a fabulous daughter who is strong, independent, fun-loving and caring.

What is your motto or philosophy of life?

If you can’t speak your mind, why have one?