Paintings and Pairings

Paintings and Pairings

Art appraiser, advisor and curator Lily Yu is combining her love of art with her appreciation of food and wine for “Paintings and Pairings,” a series of dinners featuring the works of a local artist combined with a downtown chef’s cuisine and a Monterey County winery. Yu said she plans to hold the dinners at different locations around the Peninsula.

The inaugural event will be a collaboration between paint- er Paul Seftel and chef/owner Soerke Peters at the Village Corner, located at Dolores and Sixth, Sept. 5 from 5 to 9 p.m.

The evening will begin with wine and light bites during an opening reception for “Arts Techtonic, Forces of Nature by Paul Seftel,” including works on canvas and paper, and four outdoor wall reliefs. Born in London, Seftel is an abstract mixed-media painter, using metal, minerals and raw pigment in his works. While his studio is at the American Tin Can- nery in Paci c Grove, his work will hang at the Village Corner through Dec. 2.

“I chose Chef Soerke and Paul Seftel because they are both innovators in their realms who are inspired by nature and Earth,” she said. “Chef Soerke’s emphasis on food is on freshness, local ingredients and seasonality. Artist Seftel uses all organic materials to make his homemade paint, such as natural minerals, pure pigments and pulverized stone.”

While he is keeping the menu a secret, Peters said, “It will be abstract cooking, if there is such a thing.”

“As chefs, we love to be challenged with new ideas, con- cepts and opportunities,” he said, and Yu’s mission for Paintings and Pairings “is very interesting and challenging, indeed.”

“Thinking of Paul’s interpretations from canvas to sculp- tures and putting it on a plate is no easy task,” Peters said. “Getting to know the artist personally does help inspire me to use similar techniques in the art of plating.”

Each of the four courses will be paired with wines from Albatross Ridge.

Yu said that throughout the dinner, which is set to start at 7 p.m., Seftel will talk about his work and how he creates it, and Peters will discuss what inspires him in the kitchen. Each guest will receive a copy of the evening’s menu signed by the Seftel and Peters to mark the occasion.

“I am not sure what will happen at the dinner. This pairing of artist and chef has never been done before,” she said. “This is for people hungry for adventure and who have appetites for fresh ideas and organic inspiration.”

Each seat costs $95, including tax and tip.

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Ambiguity and intrigue in a new art and food function

Ambiguity and intrigue in a new art and food function

Art appraiser, adviser and curator Lily Yu owned two restaurants that doubled as art galleries, so her Paintings and Pairings event, a conjunction of Chef Soerke Peters and artist Paul Seftel, is a natural progression.

It’s a free art opening in The Village Corner, comprising about 20 pieces titled Arts Techtonic, Forces of Nature by Paul Seftel. That’s followed by a four-course dinner ($95) of Peters’ “abstract cooking” that matches the themes, colors and processes of the art. It’s all paired with by wine from Albatross Ridge and conversation likely to veer in a few directions.

Paintings and Pairings, A New Concept Coming to Carmel

Paintings and Pairings, A New Concept Coming to Carmel

The Monterey Peninsula, with its proliferation of wine tasting rooms, food and wine events and art galleries, is already a destination for a world of tourists. Residents know they have a wealth of choices when it comes to dining out or entertaining family and friends.

The opening of new restaurants and receptions for art openings at galleries and museums locally is a time honored and well worn option for getting out to be with like-minded people. But how about combining those activities into a stimulating night of enjoying food, wine and art in the company of those who create what you eat, drink and view?

“Paintings and Pairings,” a new concept developed by art appraiser, advisor and curator Lily Yu, does just that. Her first outing in what will be a series of conceptual art curations at local businesses involves the talents of chef Soerke Peters of Carmel’s Village Corner Restaurant, artist Paul Seftel, and Albatross Ridge Winery. It takes place at the Village Corner on Wednesday in two parts. From 5 to 7 p.m. there is a free open-to-the public artist’s reception for “Arts Tectonic, Forces of Nature by Paul Seftel,” including works on canvas and paper,and four outdoor wall reliefs. Born in London, Seftel is an abstract mixed-media painter using metal, minerals and raw pigment in his works. While his studio is at the American Tin Cannery in Pacific Grove, his work will hang at the Village Corner through Dec. 2. Wine and small bites will be served with the chance to engage with the artist. For background and more information

From 7-9 p.m. a reserved four-course dinner with wine parings will be served on the charming patio of the historic Village Corner during which patrons will be engaged in conversation with the chef, artist and winery representative about their creative concepts and process. Seftel took into consideration what would fit in the restaurant decor. Peters in turn, takes his inspiration for the food being served from the paintings. While he is keeping the menu a secret, Peters said, “It will be abstract cooking, if there is such a thing. As chefs, we love to be challenged with new ideas, concepts and opportunities. (Yu’s mission for Paintings and Pairings) is very interesting and challenging, indeed. Thinking of Paul’s interpretations from canvas to sculptures and putting it on a plate is no easy task.“Getting to know the artist personally does help inspire me to use similar techniques in the art of plating.”

Tickets for this portion of the evening are $95 in advance, $110 at the door, tax and tip included. Advance tickets may be purchased online through Yu’s business (Agent Art) website at To learn more about the world class talents of the chef and winemakers, visit their websites at and

Art expert Yu arrived several years ago from Los Angeles bringing with her a wealth of knowledge and an unlimited imagination. Add to that her insatiable curiosity and you have a powerhouse of possibility.

Her business, Agent Art, which has her engaged with individuals and organizations in the acquisition and sales of fine art has placed her at the center of the community. She has taken her many interests, which includes the creation of art as well as the evaluation and curation skills, and her study of fine wines, to create an all inclusive concoction that serves to promote creative endeavors she thinks are worthy of more attention.

“Being an art advisor came from being an artist first and foremost,” the Carmel resident said. “I’m a mixed media artist; drawing, painting, and I love working with print making processes. That’s what led me in this direction. I love art and I always think about it and learned everything I could about it. And at a certain point in my life I wanted to use my knowledge to help others. So I became an art advisor. I became certified as an art appraiser. And I love to share art with not only individuals who are collectors but with larger groups of people, so I started curating exhibitions.”

Yu believes that people with the spirit of the original bohemians who created Carmel, the adventurers and discoverers who are artistic and creative and don’t see things in categories, are the kind who might find this idea appealing. While everyone knows it’s not that unusual to experience original art hung in restaurants, it’s important to note that no one has ever joined these elements into an entertaining and educational experience like this before.

“This is the difference between incidental and the intentional,” she said. “We’re shining a light on what these things, art and food, have in common and what’s different about them. And everybody gets to participate in that. This is an interactive environment where we’re inviting you to make discoveries about what art and food have in common. And then the artist himself expresses his internalization of it. And the chef who is interpreting the art and making his own expression of the connection. In the final analysis, we’re going to make our own internal evaluation and assessment, and then we actually get to consume someone else’s interpretation of the connection between these two worlds.”

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Paintings and Pairings

Got a picture you don’t know about? She’ll figure it out.

Image of Lily Yu

All her life, Lily Yu has loved art. She comes from a family of creative women, including her mother, aunts and sisters, and has been drawing and painting since she was 6. Her other great loves are food and wine, so when she was ready for a change from her life in her native Los Angeles, a move here – where she had visited on vacation – seemed like a natural choice. Schooled at UCLA and Cal State Long Beach in fine arts and art history, Yu put herself through college with a catering business she started at 18 in her mother’s kitchen. She would later run two restaurant/gallery combinations, places where bohemian types could come and play music or do poetry read­ings.

Seemingly impossible

For 13 years, she worked as the director of the Andrew Weiss Gallery in Beverly Hills, where she said her real-world education took place. “I handled works by 20th century masters, like Matisse, Chagall and Picasso,” she explained, developing a knack for recognizing fake works from dealing with the real ones. “There are things that just don’t feel right ” about the frauds, she said.

When corporate CEOs wanted to assemble art collections that would represent who they were personally, living on after they’d died, Yu was there to help them. But after a while, she wanted to indulge her own creativity and become more inde­pendent. She found Carmel to be “charming and intriguing,” infused with the artistic spirit she sought.

Artist’s table

When Yu got here, although she found the town “very wel­coming,” she couldn’t find the space she’d hoped for to open a multi-artist gallery, and she discovered that the long-time residents had already assembled their own art collections, so those services weren’t required, either. Instead, she became a sort of art-world private eye, running down the provenance of works people had, but didn’t know anything about. Her business, appropriately, is named Agent Art. “Everyone has something somewhere and they don’t know what it is,” she said. “Maybe their late uncle left it to them.” She specializes in 20th century and contemporary Ameri­can, European and Asian art, including photographs. “I recently took a case that seemed impossible,” she said. “A typical appraisal takes one month. This one took several.” It was an unsigned drawing by an artist from pre-World-War­n Dresden, and the way she was able finally to run its origins down was by the distinctive way the artist wrote the numbers in the date on the piece.

She also does appraisals and helps people decide what works to buy, based on value and market research. Another passion for Yu is bringing people together for good causes. While in Beverly Hills, she was able to assemble more than 300 nonprofits to raise more than $1 million for charity. In this community, she hopes to combine her love of food and wine and art to curate exhibits at local cafes, starting with the Village Corner and the Shale Canyon tasting room. “The Shale Canyon show will be a pop art show, reflecting the playful nature of the wine and the owner,” she said. Coordinating with the Vil­lage Corner, she hopes to have a series of dinners and exhibi­tions she’s calling “The Artist’s Table,” where artists and chefs will be on-hand to discuss the work and how it inspires the food.

In the area for five years, Yu lives near Stevenson School, and has embraced the spirit of the town. “I love the burgeon­ing renaissance of culture, the innovations in food, the musical scene, the Center for Photographic Art … ” and the list went on.

She hopes to be able to become part of the fabric of the town’s art scene, bringing it together, and adding her own con­tributions to her newfound bohemian village.

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One of a Kind: The Colorful Journey of Lily Yu

One of a Kind: The Colorful Journey of Lily Yu

Image of Lily Yu for 65 Degrees Magazine

According to the delightfully approachable Lily Yu, “Art is a process of exploration and constant learning, regardless of the individual or their art education.” A multifaceted art appraiser, advisor, and curator, she believes that art is dynamic: “It’s a living thing, changing every day,” she says. Raised in a family of artists who encouraged her passion, Yu, who is a former restaurant owner and chef, accumulated 20 years of professional experience as an artist, gallery owner,curator, and appraiser as a result of her love aff air with art. Today, as the owner of AGENT ART, she serves private collectors, institutions, and corporate clients, helping them build their collections. Yu also marries her expertise in twentieth-century art with her passion for contemporary art, serving as “art detective” for clients who have inherited a piece of art with no knowledge of its history or value. “This is more common in Carmel than in my native Los Angeles, where people are building their collections,” she notes. “Clients always know what they like but may not be able to express it . . . In many cases, I am able to convert a piece that someone is not attached to.” She does this by providing options on how to sell art, guiding them to a new piece that they love. The acquisition process is an adventure that she likens to a treasure hunt.

Yu’s personable manner, along with her ability to learn about her clients over time, allows for a relationship that oft en endures through several generations. “My passion is helping people build their legacies, as one’s art collection can become a permanent expression of themselves.” A native of Palos Verdes and Santa Monica, both beautiful beach towns, Yu visited Carmel on a vacation with her partner, and they decided to take up permanent residence. The couple shares a vision of making art more accessible and enjoyable to everyone. “Carmel was founded by a community of artists,” she says, “and we want to honor and cherish that history, while bringing Carmel into the new century. Yu’s expression soft ens when she reflects on the warm welcome received upon relocating here. “We were immediately embraced by so many local artists,” she says, and that encouraged her to create “popups” of art in unexpected places throughout town. One such alternative non-gallery art installation is featured at the Shale Canyon Tasting Room. Everything about Shale Canyon Wines is playful. “Therefore, the art featured there is equally reflective of a time when people came together to have fun,” says Yu. “I love to curate a combination of diff erent artists, which gets people talking and enjoying the art in an interactive way that does not always occur in a traditional gallery.” Art and expressionism permeate every aspect of Yu’s world, and it is not unusual for her clients to become her dear friends. In addition to AGENT ART, Yu’s next endeavor is to find fresh, innovative ways to introduce new artists who are not currently showing in Carmel.

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Los Angeles | Monterey | San Francisco
©2024 Agent Art | All Rights Reserved