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
Praise for The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry
and#8220;I can never get enough of true stories about people who stop in the middle of their life's journey to ask, and#8216;What do I really want?' and then have the guts to actually go get it. Kathleen Flinn's tale of chasing her ultimate dream makes for a really lovely bookand#8212; engaging, intelligent and surprisingly suspenseful.and#8221;and#8212;Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
and#8220;The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is an engaging story about a fantasy fulfilled. It's Under the Tuscan Sun goes to cooking school.and#8221;and#8212;Michael Ruhlman, author of The Soul of a Chef
and#8220;Although I can't cook my way out of a sac de papier, I found this book a joy to read. It's is a compelling story about learning to cook and learning to love at the same time, told with humility, humor and passion.and#8221;and#8212;Bill Radke, host of public radio's Weekend America
and#8220;Kat Flynnand#8217;s vivid story of her adventures at Le Cordon Bleu Paris had me smiling page after page. It's about what you should always think about in the pressure behind a hot stove and#8211; the pure romance of cooking.and#8221;and#8212;Jerry Traunfeld, author The Herbal Kitchen
and#8220;Learning to tame a sadistic chef/instructor is one of the tougher trials Flinn faces in this souffland#233;-light memoir of her life-changing year at the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris.and#160; Bon appetit.and#8221; and#8211; Good Housekeeping
and#8220;A charming, yet surprisingly suspenseful account of the education of a chef (with some classic recipes and many tips), but also one womanand#8217;s inspiring story of rising to, and surmounting, an imposing challenge.and#8221; and#8211; Seattle Post-Intelligencer
and#8220;Those who relish the adventures to be found in food will undoubtedly enjoy this tale of a corporate middle manager who followed her heart into the heat of the kitchen and came out a triumphant graduate of Le Cordon Bleu.and#8221; and#8211; The Christian Science Monitor
“Luisa Weiss writes with grace and ease about her search for a sense of belonging in My Berlin Kitchen. That she also cooks appealing dishes and writes beautifully about food only adds dimension to her wonderful memoir. You will read with intense delight, cheering her on through heartbreak and triumphs.” —Amanda Hesser, cofounder of Food52 and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook
“My Berlin Kitchen is a truly remarkable memoir, told with sensitivity and honesty. Filled with the emotions—and flavors—of a life that spans three cultures and cuisines, this is a book you won't want to put down, except to make its enticing recipes.” —David Lebovitz, bestselling author of The Sweet Life in Paris
“Luisa’s heartfelt and engrossing memoir will resonate deeply with anyone who’s ever sensed the profound connection between the food we eat and our sense of home.” —Clotilde Dusoulier, creator of Chocolate & Zucchini and author of Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris
“I hope you’re prepared to clear a day or two of your schedule once you open this book, because you’re not going to want to put it down to do anything—well, anything but make a beeline for the kitchen to make a rolled omelet or fake baked beans. Luisa has a way of telling her story that’s nothing short of entrancing.” —Deb Perelman, creator of Smitten Kitchen
“Part culinary journal, part love story, My Berlin Kitchen chronicles a young woman’s (often) difficult task of finding her way in the world. With the charm and honesty that is characteristic of her wonderful blog, Luisa Weiss has crafted a book that leaves a deep impression.” —Heidi Swanson, creator of 101 Cookbooks and bestselling author of Super Natural Cooking
“Luisa Weiss’s piquant memoir has charm, heartbreak, family history, and recipes galore.”—Elle
“A heartwarming (and often mouth-watering) memoir, German-born chef and writer Weiss recounts how . . . through hardship and heartbreak, she found solace among saucepans and stews. . . . Foodies and nonfoodies alike will enjoy chapters brimming with colorful cooking tales and savory recipes.” —Allison Block, Booklist (starred review)
“A thoughtful, earnestly winning memoir.”—Publishers Weekly
“Readers of Weiss’s popular cooking blog know some of her personal history. . . . This memoir fills in the blanks, exploring the loneliness and alienation of a child who never quite feels at home wherever she is . . . and the debilitating heartbreak when an important relationship fails. But there is plenty of joy, too: summers at her grandparents’ Italian farmhouse, falling in love, and, always, the pleasures of the kitchen. Each chapter closes with a recipe for a dish referenced in the text, most of which represent one of the places Weiss has called home. . . . This charming food memoir will prove enjoyable to anyone who loves Laurie Colwin or M.L.K. Fisher.”—Library Journal
“A beautiful and inspiring story about how we sometimes have to take a leap of faith to follow our life’s passion. I was so charmed by Luisa Weiss’s honesty, vulnerabilities, and beautiful writing—all while craving braised endives. A lovely, remarkable, and delicious tale of the romance of a lifetime.” —Kathleen Flinn, author of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry
“My Berlin Kitchen is an aromatic chronicle of love, food, and finding home. Luisa’s fragrant prose will have you longing for her Tomato Bread Soup and smelling her freshly baked Poppy Seed Whirligig Buns. Her quest for heart and hearth is inspiring and touching—and leaves you feeling as if you have found a new friend.” —Debra Weiner, author of How to Recognize Your Future Ex-Husband
"Flinn shares uplifting stories of the recipes that shaped her life, from her Swedish grandmother's pancakes to her mom's chicken and biscuits." - More Magazine
"and#160;A memoir with lots of eating, road trips and family history, this combination platter will fill you up." -and#160;Campus Circleand#160;
"Kathleen is a born storyteller! Her books grab you from page one, and hold onto you and your imagination, until the last page is turned, so it's no surprise that this book is full of charm and wit as well! ...This book will have you laughing and crying! "-and#160;Bless Their Hearts Mom Blog
"I was in a reading slump until I picked up Kathleen Flinn'sand#160;newest bookand#160;Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good.and#160;If you love food or love eating food, this book is for you." -and#160;Feed Your Readerand#160;Blogand#160;
"This book offers something for us all, and the recipes just add to the charm." - Five Minutes For Booksand#160;blog
"Craving a beach read with a bite? Kathleen Flinn's new memoir,and#160;Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good,and#160;chronicles her Midwestern family's culinary adventures, starting with a move cross-country to run her uncle's pizzeria. There are plenty of hilarious missteps (like a maybe-don't-try-this-at-home experience raising chickens), but food is a blissful constant, even in the craziest of times. And the book is filled with recipes - Grandpa's Mich-Mex chili, Mom's cinnamon rolls - so you can create some memorable family meals of your own." - Redbook Magazine
"You wouldn't think a memoir consisting of someone else's family stories would be all that interesting, but Kathleen Flinn had me hanging on each and every account in her memoirand#160;Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good.I connected with her immediately, and while reading I often thought of my own parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents... I won't forget these stories." -and#160;A Lovely Bookshelf on the Wall
“The new Julie & Julia! It’s part cookbook and part memoir; you’ll finish a chapter and find yourself in the kitchen following the recipe Weiss includes . . . A transcontinental romance about taking risks in life and in the kitchen.” —Marie Claire
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.