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One Soufflé at a Time [Paperback]

Anne Willan
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2014
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 Burgundy - trained chefs, food writers and home cooks. Under Willan's cheerful, no-nonsense instruction, anyone could learn to truss a chicken, make a bernaise, or loft a souffle. In One Souffle at a Time, Willan tells her story and that of the food-world greats - including Julia Child, James Beard, Simone Beck, Craig Claiborne, Richard Olney - 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, where she overcame the 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 Souffle at a Time - which features fifty of her favourite recipes, from Moroccan Spiced Turkey to Chocolate Snowball - brings Willan's own story of her life to the centre of the banquet table.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: St Martin's Griffin (1 Oct 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 125004930X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250049308
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,783,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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"[Willan] shares her adventures in life, love and cheese balls in the delectable memoir "One Souffle at a Time," which also comes peppered with her favorite recipes."--"T, The New York Times Magazine""Ms. Willan tells the story of her life--interespersing it generously with recipes, classic French and otherwise--in an easygoing, readable style, full of anecdote and insight."--Colman Andrews, "Wall Street Journal""Woven into the story of how she managed to build a culinary school in Paris, Willan shares anecdotes from her interactions with Julia Child...making one of the most legendary figures in cooking seem like an old friend. Somehow she does the same with food."--"Saveur""An episodic career memoir interwoven with momentous life occasions, from cross-Atlantic moves to weddings and deaths. Compelling chapters on La Varenne in Paris and its courses at Chateau du Feÿ in Burgundy reveal the pleasures and complications of working in the kitchen...A charming...portrait of a woman determined to bring French cuisine to a wider audience, with emphasis on traditional, accessible recipes that respect the intellectual side of cookery."--"Kirkus Reviews""Willan, who founded LaVarenne Cooking School in Paris, shares her life story in this charming memoir."--"Library Journal" "When Julia Child introduced me to her dear friend, Anne Willan, she said, 'You must get to know Anne, she is remarkable!' Julia was "almost" right: Anne is extraordinary! For those of us who love Anne and have admired - and benefited - from her work (she trained some of my favorite chefs and editors), this memoir is filled with insights, lessons, inspiration and so many tales of adventure. And for those of you who are just meeting Anne, you're lucky - you have a treat in store."--Dorie Greenspan, author of "Around My French Table" and co-owner of Beurre & Sel cookies "Anne Willan and her LaVarenne way have quite simply shaped modern food writing like no one else."--Virginia Willis

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. S"he writes the internationally syndicated "Tell Me a Story" column for Universal Press Syndicate.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A DELICIOUS MEMOIR 6 Dec 2013
By Gail Cooke TOP 500 REVIEWER
Not only a delicious memoir but a love letter to food, France and family One Souffle At A Time is a delight. Celebrated food authority Anne Willan not only shares her life to date but 50 of her favorite recipes and the stories of such culinary greats as Julia Child, James Beard, Simone Beck, Craig Claiborne, all who forever altered the way we look at food.

Growing up in Yorkshire Willan describes herself as a "sturdy" girl who enjoyed good home cooking as her mother was an excellent cook, but at the time she showed no aptitude for preparing food herself. Her road to becoming the proprietor of a famed cooking school in Paris was a circuitous but fascinating one. Along the way she met and married Mark Cherniavsky, worked at Gourmet magazine and as food editor of the Washington Star.

As a young girl she attended boarding school where she seems to have subsisted largely on potatoes, food was not considered important and those who appeared to eat too much were thought greedy. A healthy appetite was certainly not de rigueur. Then at the age of 14 her parents took her to Paris where for the first time she tasted French cuisine.

For her graduation gift Willan was gifted with a summer course at a cookery and finishing school. She later studied economics at Cambridge graduating with a third-class degree (in other words, not near the top of her class.) Shortly thereafter she enrolled at the Cordon Bleu in London where after three months she was asked to stay and teach. She had found her life's work.

When in Paris she attended the original Cordon Bleu where she encountered a grumpy chef who refused to answer questions and nothing seemed to be written down.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an inspiration.... 28 Sep 2013
By YB - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anne Willan's writing style hooked me immediately as I embarked to experience vicariously her extraordinary journey centered around food but encompassing so much more. Her language and form brought to life so vividly her story. I found myself laughing and a few times teary eyed. You get a true sense of her personality and wit from this first-person account. She is authentic to the core, revealing more than I would have expected about personal matters, but that makes her so human and very likeable. It is a rare and refreshing quality that so defines her character and may explain one reason for her success in cuisine. Her food is an expression of her essence, and it is a treat to gain insight into a remarkable person who is also a wonderful example of a modern, independent minded, hardworking woman with strong family values. And at the heart of it all is cooking with love, creativity, discipline, fun and intelligence. I can't wait to try many of her recipes so I can live and relive a bit of that passion and share such with family and friends. Her travels and love story are also an inspiration.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engrossing and delightful 24 Sep 2013
By R Estrada - Published on
Anne's memoir reads like a fairy tale. Amazing and inspiring stories from her life are smartly intertwined with dozens of recipes. If you're like me, reading this book will be a constant struggle between deciding whether to keep reading or try your hand at one of the delicious-sounding recipes. However, her story will prove far too interesting for you to put down.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anne Willan Stirs the Pot 23 Sep 2013
By Irena Chalmers - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Anne Willan has been honored with many awards. She deserves a prize for a profile in courage. Her love of food and wine and search for knowledge and culinary history has taken her to cities and villages in every corner of the world. Anne shares her joys and sorrows and highs and lows. Her life journey has earned her the affection and admiration of countless friends, food lovers and students. I relished every page of this memorable memoir. I'm sure you will too.
Irena Chalmers
Author Food Jobs 2: Ideas and Inspiration for Your Jobs Hunt
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational 20 Oct 2013
By Christy LA - Published on
I walked by La Varenne cooking school in Paris for years, always longing to study there. I was never able to, but thanks to this memoir, I now know what was happening behind those doors! But even more interesting than the classes, is Anne Willan's life story. Her journey from wartime England to London to Paris to New York to Washington to a chateau in Burgundy to Los Angeles is inspiring. She met everyone from Julia Child to the Mondavis to American political figures to all the top French chefs. Most importantly, she met Mark, the love of her life. She just made it all happen, working hard but cheerfully and passionately all the while. (Combing the French countryside with her husband, looking for local specialties for her book, French Regional Cooking, must have been great fun!)
She followed her heart with bold steps. How many people--French or otherwise--would dare take on Le Cordon Bleu, the "gold standard" of cooking schools? She'd fallen in love with French cooking and, with generous heart, she shared her love with the rest of us. I have many of her cookbooks (even the older ones still hold up!) and this memoir is a wonderful backstory to them all.
I regret that I never walked into La Varenne back then--not just because I missed out on cooking classes. I missed out on meeting an amazing woman.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A TRULY DELICIOUS LIFE, NOT TO BE MISSED 20 Oct 2013
By NancyMehagian - Published on
I’m a writer and a cook, and after listening to Anne Willan and Amy Friedman discuss their passionate collaboration and hearing a little about Anne’s fascinating life—from a childhood in the wilds of Yorkshire to stints at the Cordon Bleu to a job at the Palace Versailles to the creation of La Varenne cooking school in Paris—I couldn’t wait to read this book. I wasn’t let down for a moment—This is a powerful story and beautifully told and I loved reading about Julia Child, James Beard and other masters of French cuisine. Now I’m looking forward to trying my hand at some of those 50 recipes. A must-read for anyone who loves food, fairytales and adventure.
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