Anne Willan is shopping at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market when out of the blue an attractive young woman comes up to introduce herself.

“I met you at the Les Dames [d’Escoffier] dinner,” she says earnestly. “I just wanted to say how glad I am that you joined our market.”

Willan, perfectly coiffed and slightly regal in a well-tailored wool suit even at this early hour, thanks her politely, then, after the woman has walked away, turns and asks with a slightly quizzical look: “That was nice, wasn’t it?”

If she seems a little taken aback, it’s certainly not because of being recognized—Willan has been a guiding force in the cooking world for decated—rather, it is probably the very California form the greeting took.

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