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Au Revoir, Stuffy French Cooking; Bonjour, Rachel Khoo!

When I moved to Paris in the spring of 2009, I was as ravenous to explore the city’s food scene as I was to find a home and community of friends. One way I found I could meet people, learn a bit about local culture and customs, and eat some delicious food all at the same time was by taking the occasional cooking class. Which is how I met Rachel Khoo, author of La Petite Cuisine (Penguin, UK) and host of Little Paris Kitchen on the BBC, both debuting this spring.

It was a bright and sunny August afternoon that I found myself attending the modern Electrolux-sponsored kitchen inside the Palais de Tokyo. There were 12 of us students and I could tell the pretty Brit with red lips, a retro sundress and kitchen confidence had something going on. That something—I learned while whipping eggs for our plum clafoutis as she filleted our Provençal sardines—was pastry training from Le Cordon Bleu and a  burgeoning career as a “food creative.”

Over the next few months I experienced Rachel’s creative food endeavors: a muesli-tasting party while she developed recipes for her first cookbook, Barres à Céreales, Muesli et Granola Maison (Marabout, 2010). A pie-making class at La Cocotte. An 80s-themed dinner party, complete with Pac-Man shaped foie gras. And, most exciting of all, I was invited to be there for the grand opening of her Parisian restaurant—a wee party of two at La Petite Cuisine à Paris.

Rachel’s itty-bitty restaurant was one of the most coveted reservations in town throughout the spring and summer of 2011. As soon as word got out about her cooking—described by Rachel herself as “an English girl’s perspective on French food”—everyone wanted a taste. My lunch made it easy to understand why. Continue Reading »

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Paris’ Arty Supperclub: Miss Lunch’s Loft Dining

MLNovnewsletterImages courtesy of Miss Lunch

Supperclubs are nothing new. Whether the recent popularity they’re enjoying first started in London or Manhattan — where the hook was exclusivity and bragging rights about ‘discovering’ underground chefs in their lairs — or in the impossibly small kitchens of aspiring Brooklyn chefs and foodies is anyone’s guess.

What is certain, though, is that the move from chefs’ tables to chefs’ kitchens did not pass Paris by unnoticed. In many ways, the model is better suited to French dinner-party habits than it is to the fickle attention spans of New Yorkers, and it has enjoyed a fair amount of low-key success notably among foodie expats.

Miss Lunch

HiP Paris recently received an email from a certain Miss Lunch — a chef, artist, teacher, writer with a passion for incorporating her rich heritage into delicious, alternative culinary experiences. Trained at the Beaux Arts and a Paris resident for 15 years, she dabbles in art, cooking classes, cookbook writing and … semi-public dinner parties. Continue Reading »

Posted in Food, Parisian Living, Restaurant Reviews | No Comments »