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Who We Are and What We Do

People with a passion for food beyond the knife and fork founded the Culinary Historians of Southern California in 1995 as an affiliate of the Los Angeles Public Library. Typical of library patrons, they sought an intellectual as well as gastronomic approach to food, but not at the expense of taking themselves so seriously that they would forget to have fun.

Today’s membership of about 250 men and women spans a range of ages and occupations. It comprises not only food professionals, from chefs, writers and academics to product purveyors and restaurateurs, but also people in fields such as marketing, television, theatre, and museums. And then there are those simply intrigued by the mysteries of food and pleasures of the table.

We have fun learning about food history, trends and social implications of what and how we eat. We dine out and create culinary celebrations.

We present monthly forums, generally the second Saturday of the month at the Los Angeles Central Library, with refreshments that illustrate the lecture. These events are free and open to the public.

We contribute to the library’s culinary collections, one of the most extensive in the country. It includes more than 18,000 cookbooks. Of note are 1,000 cookbooks published in California and the largest collection of Mexican cookbooks in the United States.

Membership Benefits

  • Members-only events, such as the annual December party and July picnic are held at important sites such as the Gilmore Adobe, the Gamble House, Barbara Streisand Center, the Malibu Hills Vineyard, and Raleigh Studios
  • Dining out at ethnic restaurants, often in conjunction with monthly programs
  • Special excursions and tours, such as to the Getty Museum for “The Edible Monument” exhibit, and the “McDonald’s History Tour” with Chris Nichols
  • Free subscription to the Culinary Historians of Southern California Food Journal newsletter and a membership directory
  • Discounts on CHSC products/events
  • Occasional cooking demonstrations