A plump chef with a jaunty toque riding a bicycle past a French storefront, baguette under one arm, umbrella in one hand, wine in the other, flowers in the basket, and somewhere, black-and-white stripes: You’ve seen variations of these elements on cutting boards, trivets, ceramic plates, wallpaper borders, tile murals, calendars, and more. They come from the furtive mind and busy hands of Indian Wells resident Jennifer Garant.
At the age of 27, the Vancouver native painted 21 14×38-foot murals in six months at Vancouver General Hospital. More recently, she completed 48 designs for 12 sets of dessert plates for the New York Tabletop Show. Although she could be called “the queen of licensing” (she has products going to 50 countries), Garant also has achieved success selling watercolor and acrylic paintings, currently in galleries in New Orleans, Key West, Carmel, and Palm Desert (Howard Schepp Fine Art on El Paseo).
Why are so many of your chefs French?
I lived in Quebec for a year. I loved Quebec city and fell in love with the symbologies and the language. I’ve always had a fascination with Paris. That is the one place everyone goes who is in décor and fashion. I’ve never been to Europe, but my husband, Tadd, and I are going next summer.
Black-and-white checks seem to be a “logo” for you. From what does that stem?
I always loved the black-and-white-check floors in the house where I grew up.
Have you seen unauthorized copies?
They did a show in Canada called W5 (it’s like 60 Minutes) in which they pulled over a huge truck that was filled with copies from China. I go after everyone who infringes. I’ve done a good job to make sure my copyright is on products.
Is your house filled with your consumer products?
The first product was a line of trivets — they’re still being sold to Bed Bath & Beyond 10 years later — and wooden trays; and I still get really excited when I see new products. Then I give them away. I never get too attached, because you want to think what the next thing will be.
So what is next?
I recently finished designing novelty fabrics and a TexMex line of dishes. And the American Culinary Federation is recognizing me next year at their convention in Texas. I’ve done five plate designs for them since 2009.