Wow, I just finished reading a fantastic cookbook!
Yes, I read cookbooks like I read novels, is that strange??
Anyway, I’ve been devouring this book over the last couple of days, after a trip to Boston to check out “Flour” bakery. A small sampling of their delicious pastries drove me to grab a copy of the owner, Joanne Chang’s, cookbook since I can’t just go to Flour bakery whenever I want to (but if any of you are going to Boston, don’t miss it!) and I was hoping that the recipes would be as good as the real thing.
So far, a couple of tested recipes haven’t disappointed and there are many, many more that I can’t wait to try. But really what inspires me is the book itself; it’s so well-written and smart and fun. Will I ever write a cookbook? I have no idea. The thought of it daunts me, but it’s true that I do have a lot of great recipes…
If I never get to write a book, though, then I’ll never get to write “Acknowledgments.” I love reading “Acknowledgments.” It can be so moving, particularly after finishing a book that includes as much love, hard work and intelligence, and that brings you into the author’s life, as a book like the Flour Bakery cookbook does.
So just in case I never write a cookbook, I thought I’d write some “Acknowledgments” for Chez Nous, our restaurant, for the occasion of our sixth anniversary, and mine and Franck’s 10th anniversary:
I’d like to thank Selma Miriam and Noel Furie of Bloodroot restaurant, for letting a fledgling cook and baker into their kitchen and sharing their hard-earned cooking and baking smarts with me, along with their general wisdom and love, as well as letting me into their lives & their gardens.
I’d also like to thank Michael Finehirsch, who I only worked with only for a short time at Wheatleigh, but who not only introduced me to a completely new way of thinking about pastry — flavor combinations and techniques that blew me away — but who remained a key mentor for me in my first years working in professional pastry kitchens. Ditto for Jill Rose, who also remains the person responsible for the existence of Cakewalk Bakery, and that of Chez Nous, and therefore an incredibly special person in our lives.
Michel Roux Jr. at Le Gavroche in London: Franck’s most important mentor and a tremendous educator and chef in every sense of the word. Working in that kitchen, you can be sure that you are learning from the best: the right way to do things, the hard way, to be sure, but you come out on the other side so strong and carrying the knowledge of generations of top professionals. Thank you so much.
Our staff at “Chez Nous.” What can I say? Our customers remind me daily of how amazing our staff is. Michele, our sous-chef, constantly makes us smile with her talent, drive and humor. Raphael, our manager, brings his warmth and intelligence to work every day, and has indelibly made a mark on the quality of the service at Chez Nous. The caring and hard work that all of our staff contribute provides us with the energy we need to feed off of and to keep working to improve and challenge our vision for the restaurant.
I really did learn to cook and bake at my Nana’s side, and our entire family benefited from her talent and generosity in the kitchen. My parents were never more supportive of me than the day that I told them that I was stopping my graduate studies in literature to become a pastry chef. I think somewhere they must have always known that I’d caught that bug from Nana and it was going to have to surface at some point. I continue to be grateful for their unflagging support, not just for me, but now for Franck as well.
Franck, my husband and now business partner, without whose support I never would have survived such difficult challenges as being the pastry chef at The Point, at Le Gavroche, and opening my own bakery, and then our own restaurant. His talent and unrelenting drive are the inspiration for our daily work at the restaurant. My love and respect for him, now at our 10th anniversary, are unwavering. Our son Jolyan, now three, gives our work new significance and our lives new sources of joy. Merci!
Phew! at least the hard part of my some-day book has already been written, right?!!?