C California Style

JULIA SHERMAN prepares salads for party guests.

The New Cookbook Topping Our List

by C California Style

Julia Sherman’s new recipe-filled tome, Salad For President, hits shelves May 16

“I didn’t sleep the night before,” says 34-year-old Julia Sherman, creator of the leafy green-focused blog Salad for President. Sherman is referring to her first meeting with California culinary queen Alice Waters, who she communes with—while making a salad, of course—for her new recipe-filled tome, Salad for President: A Cookbook Inspired by Artists (Abrams, $35). “I ended up spending hours at her house, and by the end she was showing me her silk dresses—just two gals hanging out.” 

An alfresco spread.

Since the blog launched in 2012, Sherman has used salad as a platform to collaborate with renowned artists, chefs and musicians—interviewing them while they chop and toss—then documenting the experiences with lush photography and illustrations along the way. Having earned her M.F.A. at Columbia University in the exclusive New Genres program, Sherman says, “I thought I would be a conceptual artist my whole life, but the truth was, I was spending so much time in my garden and making salad.” The blog’s popularity surged in 2014, when Sherman was invited to design and program a rooftop salad garden at MoMA PS1 in New York. A year later, the J. Paul Getty Museum in L.A. commissioned her to do the same.

Sherman’s herb garden.

In the book, Sherman conducts house calls with creative luminaries from Kyoto to Mexico City. Architect Harry Gesner, musician Laurie Anderson and others then share the resulting compositions-in-a-bowl, from appetizer-friendly fare such as collard chiffonade salad to heartier dishes including flank steak and bean sprouts with miso-kimchi dressing. Sherman loves that salad has the potential to be accessible or complicated. “I’m cool with appealing to the person who just wants to know what to make tonight, who’s like, ‘What the hell is celeriac?’ But I’m also interested in talking to the person who wants to know why Robert Irwin went from painting to a post-studio practice early on in his career. To create one space where all of that can happen is my ideal.” saladforpresident.com.