Synopses & Reviews
The Wednesday Chef cooks her heart out, finds her way home, and shares her recipes with us
It takes courage to turn your life upside down, especially when everyone is telling you how lucky you are. But sometimes what seems right can feel deeply wrong. My Berlin Kitchen tells the story of how one thoroughly confused, kitchen-mad perfectionist broke off her engagement to a handsome New Yorker, quit her dream job, and found her way to a new life, a new man, and a new home in Berlin—one recipe at a time.
Luisa Weiss grew up with a divided heart, shuttling back and forth between her father in Boston and her Italian mother in Berlin. She was always yearning for home—until she found a new home in the kitchen. Luisa started clipping recipes in college and was a cookbook editor in New York when she decided to bake, roast, and stew her way through her by then unwieldy collection over the course of one tumultuous year. The blog she wrote to document her adventures in (and out) of the kitchen, The Wednesday Chef, soon became a sensation. But she never stopped hankering for Berlin.
Luisa will seduce you with her stories of foraging for plums in abandoned orchards, battling with white asparagus at the tail end of the season, orchestrating a three-family Thanksgiving in Berlin, and mending her broken heart with batches (and batches) of impossible German Christmas cookies. Fans of her award-winning blog will know the happy ending, but anyone who enjoyed Julie and Julia will laugh and cheer and cook alongside Luisa as she takes us into her heart and tells us how she gave up everything only to find love waiting where she least expected it.
"'When the author, an American journalist and software executive working in London, is sacked from her high-powered job, she enrolls as a student at the Cordon Bleu school in Paris. With limited cooking skills and grasp of the French language, she gamely attempts to master the school's challenging curriculum of traditional French cuisine. As if she didn't have enough on her plate eviscerating fish and knocking out pt choux, she determines to write a book about her experience and gets married along the way. The result is a readable if sentimental chronicle of that year in Paris in which her love life is explored in great detail, dirty weekends and all, and cooking features as a metaphor for self-discovery. Some readers may feel disappointed that the narrator's encounters with French cookery remain largely confined to her lessons at the Cordon Bleu. On those rare occasions when she ventures into the food-obsessed city, the descriptions of meals are glancing at best. Although her struggles with the language and lack of knowledge about the culture lend comic elements to the story (once, trying to order a pizza over the phone, she said, 'Je suis une pizza' I am a pizza), they, too, constrain the author's culinary explorations. (Oct.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The book is best when [Flinn] sticks to cooking, France's culinary history, diverse regional traditions and the challenges of meeting the impeccable standards of Le Cordon Bleu's demanding chefs. A fascinating look inside a famed elite institution." Kirkus Reviews
A delightful true story of food, Paris, and the fulfillment of a lifelong dream
In 2003, Kathleen Flinn, a thirty-six-year-old American living and working in London, returned from vacation to find that her corporate job had been eliminated. Ignoring her mothers advice that she get another job immediately or never get hired anywhere ever again, Flinn instead cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dreama diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the touching and remarkably funny account of Flinns transformation as she moves through the schools intense program and falls deeply in love along the way. Flinn interweaves more than two dozen recipes with a unique look inside Le Cordon Bleu amid battles with demanding chefs, competitive classmates, and her wretchedly inadequate French. Flinn offers a vibrant portrait of Paris, one in which the sights and sounds of the citys street markets and purveyors come alive in rich detail. The ultimate wish fulfillment book, her story is a true testament to pursuing a dream. Fans of Julie & Julia, Almost French, and Eat, Pray, Love will be amused, inspired, and richly rewarded by this seductive tale of romance, Paris, and French food.
In 2003, Flinn, a 36-year-old American living and working in London, cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. The ultimate wish fulfillment book, her story is a true testament to pursuing a dream.
Read Kathleen Flinn's posts on the Penguin Blog.
This is the funny and inspiring account of Kathleen Flinn’s struggle in a stew of hot-tempered chefs, competitive classmates, her own “wretchedly inadequate” French, and the basics of French cuisine. Flinn was a thirty-six-year-old middle manager trapped on the corporate ladder—until her boss eliminated her job. So she cashed in her savings and moved to Paris to pursue her lifelong dream of attending the venerable Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. Fans of Julie and Julia and the late Julia Child will be richly rewarded by this vibrant tale of self-discovery, transformation, and ultimately love.
The prequel to Kathleen Flinn's unforgettable account of her French culinary adventures - Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good - is available this August!
Kathleen Flinn was a thirty-six-year-old middle manager trapped on the corporate ladder - until her boss eliminated her job. Instead of sulking, she took the opportunity to check out of the rat race for good - cashing in her savings, moving to Paris, and landing a spot at the venerable Le Cordon Blue cooking school.
The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the funny and inspiring account of her struggle in a stew of hot-tempered, chefs, competitive classmates, her own "wretchedly inadequate" French - and how she mastered the basics of French cuisine. Filled with rich, sensual details of her time in the kitchen - the ingredients, cooking techniques, wine, and more than two dozen recipes - and the vibrant sights and sounds of the markets, shops, and avenues of Paris, it is also a journey of self-discovery, transformation, and, ultimately, love.
A delicious memoir from the author of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry
In this family history interwoven with recipes, Kathleen Flinn returns readers to the mix of food and memoir beloved by readers of her bestselling The Sharper Your
Knife, the Less You Cry. Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good explores the very beginnings of her love affair with food and its connection to home. It is the story of her midwestern childhood, its memorable home cooks, and the delicious recipes she grew up with. Flinn shares tales of her parentsand#8217; pizza parlor in San Francisco, where they sold Uncle Clarenceand#8217;s popular oven-fried chicken, as well as recipes for the vats of chili made by her former army cook Grandpa Charles, fluffy Swedish pancakes from Grandma Inez, and cinnamon rolls for birthday breakfasts. Through these dishes, Flinn came to understand how meals can be memories, and how cooking can be a form of communication. Brimming with warmth and wit, this book is sure to appeal to Flinnand#8217;s many fans as well as readers of Marcus Samuelsson, Ruth Reichl, and Julie Powell.
About the Author
Kathleen Flinn is the author ofand#160;The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry,and#160;aand#160;New York Timesand#160;best-selling memoir about her experiences at the famed Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She leveraged her French culinary training to understand what holds home cooks back from cooking in her widely acclaimed follow-upand#160;The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, named a 2012 Non-Fiction Book of the Year by the American Society of Journalists and Authors. A trained journalist and writer for more than 25 years, Flinnand#8217;s work has appeared in more than three dozen publications worldwide. She lives in Seattle and Anna Maria Island, Florida, with her husband, Mike,and#160;and their trusty rescue dog, Maddy.