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Cusp chef also cooks up children's books

Donald Lockhart gets inspiration for kiddie lit while in kitchen

Donald Lockhart, executive chef of Cusp restaurant in La Jolla
Donald Lockhart, executive chef of Cusp restaurant in La Jolla
Place

Cusp

7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, 11th Floor, San Diego

When Donald Lockhart, the executive chef at Cusp Restaurant in La Jolla, isn’t creating menus, he’s writing children's books.

“I enjoy playing with food ingredients and words,” he says. “In both, the simplest things work best. It’s amazing what you can do with just a few items or a few words.”

Lockhart has written three books so far. None have been published, but he’s been inspired enough to keep trying.

“My aunt’s a ghost writer and she’s inspired me to keep submitting things and refining them,” he says. “I keep trying because it’s a way to be creative and try new things.”

Lockhart’s interest in writing for children is very personal.

“I’ve always been childlike, but I love being tongue-in-cheek” he says. “My books are picture books geared to kids ages 5-8 and they are less than 600 words. Getting the point across simply requires elegance and creativity. It’s important to let the actions in the story speak for themselves.”

Although Lockhart and his wife, Elizabeth, don’t have kids of their own, she teaches kindergarten in Orange County and often shares her stories with him.

“We don’t have our own kids, but she has 25,” he laughs. “We talk about the kids and about motivating them.”

For instance, one story, “There’s An Alligator In My Shoe,” concerns a kid named Stanley who doesn’t want to go to school because he, as might be evident from the title, imagines alligators in his shoes.

“I get story ideas while talking to my wife, but they evolve in my head when I’m working in the kitchen,” he says. “For instance, one of her kids kept bumping his knee against the desk. It would go bump-bump. I changed that to a baby beaver that goes bump-bump in the night.”

Since Lockhart works in La Jolla, it’s fitting that one of his inspirations is the late, longtime-resident Dr. Seuss.

“He is whimsical and wacky,” he says. “Suess invites you to come into the story and he compels you to imagine.”

He admits that he wouldn’t know what he’d do if he became as successful an author, because he also loves being a chef.

“It would be a great problem to have,” he admits.

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Donald Lockhart, executive chef of Cusp restaurant in La Jolla
Donald Lockhart, executive chef of Cusp restaurant in La Jolla
Place

Cusp

7955 La Jolla Shores Drive, 11th Floor, San Diego

When Donald Lockhart, the executive chef at Cusp Restaurant in La Jolla, isn’t creating menus, he’s writing children's books.

“I enjoy playing with food ingredients and words,” he says. “In both, the simplest things work best. It’s amazing what you can do with just a few items or a few words.”

Lockhart has written three books so far. None have been published, but he’s been inspired enough to keep trying.

“My aunt’s a ghost writer and she’s inspired me to keep submitting things and refining them,” he says. “I keep trying because it’s a way to be creative and try new things.”

Lockhart’s interest in writing for children is very personal.

“I’ve always been childlike, but I love being tongue-in-cheek” he says. “My books are picture books geared to kids ages 5-8 and they are less than 600 words. Getting the point across simply requires elegance and creativity. It’s important to let the actions in the story speak for themselves.”

Although Lockhart and his wife, Elizabeth, don’t have kids of their own, she teaches kindergarten in Orange County and often shares her stories with him.

“We don’t have our own kids, but she has 25,” he laughs. “We talk about the kids and about motivating them.”

For instance, one story, “There’s An Alligator In My Shoe,” concerns a kid named Stanley who doesn’t want to go to school because he, as might be evident from the title, imagines alligators in his shoes.

“I get story ideas while talking to my wife, but they evolve in my head when I’m working in the kitchen,” he says. “For instance, one of her kids kept bumping his knee against the desk. It would go bump-bump. I changed that to a baby beaver that goes bump-bump in the night.”

Since Lockhart works in La Jolla, it’s fitting that one of his inspirations is the late, longtime-resident Dr. Seuss.

“He is whimsical and wacky,” he says. “Suess invites you to come into the story and he compels you to imagine.”

He admits that he wouldn’t know what he’d do if he became as successful an author, because he also loves being a chef.

“It would be a great problem to have,” he admits.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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