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One Souffle at a Time: A Memoir of Food and Franceby Anne Willan and Amy Friedman
Synopses & Reviews
Life stories and recipes from founder of the legendary La Varenne Cooking School and — along with Julia Child — one of the English-speaking women who brought French food to home chefs everywhere.
Anne Willan's La Varenne Cooking School — in its original location in Paris and its longtime home in Burgundy — trained thousands of chefs, food writers and home cooks. Along with Julia Child, Willan became known for demystifying classic French culinary technique for regular people who loved food. Under her cheerful no-nonsense instruction, anyone could learn to truss a chicken, make a bernaise, loft a soufflé. Willan's more than thirty cookbooks, including The Art of French Provincial Cooking and the seventeen volume Look & Cook series influenced tens of thousands more who could not travel to France to study with her.
One Soufflé At A Time bubbles with warm, funny stories of the food establishment — from Child and her co-author Simone Beck, James Beard, Craig Claiborne, Richard Olney, and more — and how they lived in a place they all loved more than anywhere else. It's also a fish-out-of-water story about a typical and very determined Englishwoman's storming the bastions of the insular, male French culinary establishment to create an institution.
Featuring fifty recipes — from Coquilles St. Jacques to Chocolate Snowball — and written in Willans open, sharp, fast voice, One Soufflé At A Time is a memoir from the last big personality of her culinary era to be heard from.
Anne Willan demystified classic French culinary technique for regular people who love food. Her legendary La Varenne Cooking School — in its original location in Paris and later in its longtime home in Burgundy — trained chefs, food writers and home cooks. Under Willans cheerful, no-nonsense instruction, anyone could learn to truss a chicken, make a bernaise, or loft a soufflé.
In One Soufflé at a Time, Willan tells her story and the story of the food-world greats — including Julia Child, James Beard, Simone Beck, Craig Claiborne, Richard Olney, and others — who changed how the world eats and who made cooking fun. She writes about how a sturdy English girl from Yorkshire made it not only to the stove, but to France, and how she overcame the exceptionally closed male world of French cuisine to found and run her school. Willan's story is warm and rich, funny and fragrant with the smells of the country cooking of France. It's also full of the creative culinary ferment of the 1970s — a decade when herbs came back to life and freshness took over, when the seeds of our modern day obsession with food and ingredients were sown.
Tens of thousands of students have learned from Willan, not just at La Varenne, but through her large, ambitious Look & Cook book series and twenty-six-part PBS program. Now One Soufflé at a Time — which features fifty of her favorite recipes, from Coquille St. Jacques to Chocolate Snowball — brings Willan's own story of her life to the center of the banquet table.
About the Author
Anne Willan is one of the world's authorities on French cooking with more than fifty years of experience as a teacher, cookbook author and food columnist. She founded Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in 1975. Her most recent books are The Cookbook Library: The Cooks, Writers and Recipes that Made the Modern Cookbook, with her husband, Mark Cherniavsky, which won the Jane Grigson Award for outstanding literary writing, and The Country Cooking of France, which took two James Beard Foundation Book Awards. Willan was inducted into the James Beard Foundation's Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2013 for her body of work. She lives in Santa Monica, California and in France.
Amy Friedman is the author of Desperado's Wife: A Memoir. She writes the internationally syndicated "Tell Me a Story" column for Universal Press Syndicate.
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