Caitlin Williams Freeman and SFMOMA’s latest edible art offering


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Caitlin Williams Freeman is the in-house pastry chef at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art‘s rooftop cafe. The former UC Santa Cruz photography student co-founded Miette. Then in 2001, in what she thought would be a temporary stint, she started making pastries for her husband James Freeman’s Blue Bottle Coffee locations.

When his company landed a spot on SFMOMA’s rooftop, Williams Freeman used the opportunity to channel her love for paintings and photography into her baking. Now the cookies and cakes available -- for visual and literal consumption -- at the coffee bar pay homage to artworks on view in the museum’s galleries.


Constantly coming up with new ideas for art-inspired desserts, edible spinoffs have included a Katharina Fritsch ice cream sandwich, with poodle-shaped chocolate cookies sandwiching vanilla ice cream; a fudgsicle-take on Ellsworth Kelly’s Stele I (located in the sculpture garden); and a Thiebaud cake inspired by the museum’s large collection of Bay Area artist Wayne Thiebaud’s paintings.

The latest addition to the menu is a popsicle created in reference to Santa Monica-born artist John Zurier‘s painting ‘Arabella,’ included in the ‘The More Things Change’ exhibition, on view until Nov. 6. The popsicle, made of fresh spearmint ice milk and strawberry, costs $5 and will be available up until the exhibition’s closing day.

The next dessert in the works will be ...

in collaboration with Ruth Laskey, one of the recipients of this year’s SFMOMA SECA award. Six of Laskey’s weavings will be on display at the SECA Art Award exhibition, from Dec. 9 through April 3. Expanding on the painterly tradition of geometric abstraction, Williams Freeman plans to call attention to the intersection of color in Laskey’s weavings through a series of sodas.

Looking ahead, Williams Freeman will be teaming up with friend and L.A. artist Zoe Crosher for a project based on Crosher’s photographic exhibition ‘LA Like: Transgressing the Pacific,’ on display at Las Cienegas Projects in Culver City over the summer. Crosher spent the last few years researching and photographing the points along the ocean where seven real and fictional figures disappeared. Figures of focus include Aimee Semple McPherson’s disappearance at Ocean Park and Natalie Wood’s disappearance off Catalina Island. Williams Freeman plans to use salt pulled from the locations of the disappearances. The project, described by Williams Freeman as both ‘haunting and beautiful,’ is set to launch sometime in the spring with a series of events, including an unveiling of the desserts, film screenings, a dinner and a possible book release, in San Francisco and Los Angeles.


Standard Pacific Time tasting menu at the Getty


Food paintings at the Norton Simon

Justin Pike of Tasting Kitchen: L.A.’s best bartender

-- Caitlin Keller

Photo, top: ‘Arabella,’ 2005, by John Zurier. Credit: SFMOMA

Photo, bottom: John Zurier popsicles. Credit: Charlie Villyard