Grilled salmon over a bed of sautéed kale and a raw carrot relish may not be all that atypical fare for Westwood’s exclusive Regency Club. But when the recipes come from your founder’s latest book, the menu takes on a special meaning.
Dole Food Co. Chairman David Murdock, chairman of the club and developer of its Murdock Plaza home, was the featured luncheon speaker at the club last week. He was promoting the new 352-page “Dole Nutrition Handbook” and signed copies for guests and staff – including the club’s executive chef, Dominique Raynal.
Murdock, an 86-year-old “fish-vegetarian,” detests saturated fat, although he does admit to an occasional ice-cream craving (which he resists far more successfully than his roughly 15-cups-a-day coffee addiction). So he encourages, but does not demand, that the club’s dining room avoid beef entrees and rich cream sauces.
“I have to serve what people want to eat here. But to the extent people ask how they should eat in general, I’ll recommend lots of fresh fruits and vegetables,” said Murdock.
And they don’t have to be the premium variety; Murdock said he feeds his fresh juice and smoothie habit with weekly trips to the Costco near his Westlake Village-area estate.
Banking on Dreams
Like so many who venture to Los Angeles seeking fame, Rainer Wieland came here from Austria about 10 years ago, thinking he was going to make it as a singer-songwriter. Instead he’s found success making mattresses.
Two months into his stay, Wieland’s roommate suffered two herniated discs in her back and, after her surgery, needed a nicer bed. He disliked the mattresses he saw stateside, so he imported one from his native Austria.
Then he got the idea that Americans would love the comfy beds. He imported the mattresses until last year when he started manufacturing his own. The Venice-based company he founded, Somnium, now sells mattresses in 23 high-end stores, up by six stores in less than six months.
One of his big surprises: “Americans just love the entrepreneurial spirit,” Wieland, 42, said. “They want you to have so much success, which is kind of not looked upon as desirable in Europe.”
But Wieland hasn’t given up on those music dreams.
“I want to own a record label someday, and people here have told me I can do it all,” he said. “I mean, if Arnold (Schwarzenegger) can come from my country and make it as governor, I think it’s kind of inspiring what I could do.”
Outspoken Internet entrepreneur Jason Calacanis always seems to draw attention from the tech blogosphere, sometimes even for the most innocuous things.
Recently, Calacanis, founder of Santa Monica startup Mahalo.com, sent a message to his mailing list that cataloged his 10 favorite technologies of 2009. One he listed was a video camera system he recently installed in his house that allows him to monitor his daughter as she sleeps in her crib.
That got the attention of Web sites like LalaWag.com, an L.A. tech blog that compared Calacanis to the character Tony Montana in the crime drama “Scarface.” In the film, Montana, played by Al Pacino, oversees activities on his compound with a bank of monitors in his office.
Asked for his response, the entrepreneur seemed to find the attention from bloggers amusing, if a bit bewildering.
“Everything I do is, obviously, a precursor of what is to come. As such I can understand, but can’t endorse, the unhealthy obsession many people have with the minor details of my life,” Calacanis wrote in a tongue-in-cheek e-mail. “That being said, when the inevitable zombie apocalypse occurs, people will be begging to join me at my commune.”
Wonder what the blogs will say about that.
Staff reporters Deborah Crowe, Francisco Vara-Orta and Daniel Miller contributed to this column. Page 3 is compiled by Editor Charles Crumpley. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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