Margot Talks to Frances Schultz

Kick back for a fun chat with the always entertaining Frances Schultz in the latest episode of Margot's Fresh Picks. Plus find three summer recipes from Frances's latest book, California Cooking and Southern Style.

Frances Schultz is an artist, author, tastemaker, and Flower’s new contributing editor who lives in the Santa Ynez Valley of California. As you’ll quickly discover, she’s also down to earth and quite the card. (No, she didn’t really get into a bar fight; she just likes to doodle, even if it’s on her own book cover.) In this episode of Margot’s Fresh Picks, Margot Shaw, editor-in-chief of Flower magazine, chats with Frances about life, gathering the ones we love around the table, and her latest book, California Cooking and Southern Style.

Note: This interview was recorded on May 6, 2020. Mentions of the current times refer to shelter-in-place ordinances due to the coronavirus.


floral centerpiece

Frances Schultz inherited her mother’s affinity for flower arranging along with her down-to-earth sense of humor, irreverence, and cooking talents.

“My barn has burned down, and now I can see the moon” is a Japanese haiku, the wisdom of which Frances writes about here.

“Too many hors d’oeuvres are a sign of insecurity” are words to live by from Frances’s late mother. Frances suggests setting out one or two. Her go-to, no-fuss options are peanuts, potato chips, pickled okra, roasted pecans, and popcorn—little to no cooking required. But if you want to prepare something scrumptious, try her recipe for Grilled Chicken & Shrimp Kabobs with Lemon Yogurt Vinaigrette.

Platter filled with Chicken and Shrimp Kebabs, garnished with fresh basil

Photo courtesy of Frances Schultz

Grilled Chicken & Shrimp Kabobs with Lemon Yogurt Vinaigrette.

For the first course of the meal, try Chickpea Soup or Summer Squash Salad with Pistachios, Apricots, and Goat Cheese. By the way, Frances collaborated with the talented chef Stephanie Valentine to develop the recipes for California Cooking and Southern Style. That doesn’t mean it takes a chef to prepare them. Frances tells us her criteria for the book was that every recipe had to be accessible, super reliable, and “99 percent of the ingredients you can get at the Piggly Wiggly in Tarboro” (the North Carolina town where she grew up).

Sam Stapleton's work Asters, inverted luminosity

Chickpea Soup

Summer squash salad

Summer Squash Salad with Pistachios, Apricots, and Goat Cheese

Frances credits interior designer Tom Samet among others for helping her find her style in her previous home, her beloved Bee Cottage. Read more about Bee Cottage here and here.

The virtual dinner party mentioned in this episode is highlighted here.

Finally, to see Frances’s watercolor art, which Margot calls “delicious,” visit francesschultz.com/artwork.


California Cooking and Southern Style: 100 Great Recipes, Inspired Menus, and Gorgeous Table Settings by Frances Schultz (Skyhorse, 2019)

California Cooking and Southern Style: 100 Great Recipes, Inspired Menus, and Gorgeous Table Settings by Frances Schultz (Skyhorse, 2019)

Text by Terri Robertson | Video production by Susan Sutton


In ordinary circumstances, Flower magazine Editor-in-Chief Margot Shaw spends much of her time traveling around the country speaking at special events, visiting with subscribers, and keeping her eyes out for new stories to share with readers. While sheltering in place with so many others this spring, she decided to take to the road on a virtual tour with friends of the magazine who have recently published books on decorating, entertaining, and gardening. Follow Flower magazine on social media for announcements of upcoming virtual interviews. Learn about her book Living Floral: Entertaining and Decorating with Flowers (Rizzoli New York, 2019).