Bonjour, Hello, and Welcome!
Being a chef in a French restaurant has taught me a lot. My clientele varied from small town folks to big city people, and my goals were consistently:
- to make them happy,
- to feed them good food,
- to create great memories for them.
“WHEN are you going to teach French cooking classes and techniques?”, many of them would ask.
Then they would add, “It has to be French cuisine, but EASY French cuisine. So… WHEN?
Well, before I start some live cooking classes in my community, I decided to do a series of online cooking videos which I am bringing to YOU through this “Everything French” website!
So, what can you find in my online cooking videos?
The purpose of this cooking section is to teach several very interesting aspects of French cooking.
My tutorials online are not only about cooking (1).
They also teach you the history of the dishes that I am preparing (2) .
Finally, they give you some very useful information about some ingredients used in the recipes (3) .
1 - COOKING: What defines GOOD COOKING?
The guidelines that I strictly adhered to when I had my restaurant were:
· Never use any frozen, packaged, or pre-bottled food.
· Start with fresh and good quality ingredients.
· Cook everything from scratch, and that included my own dressings, my own sauces.
· Bake everything from scratch, and that included doughs, custards, fillings.
· Never try to save money if it is to sacrifice the quality of the final product on the plate.
Did you order a quiche or a vol-au-vent?
You had to wait for 25 minutes. I had to prepare it first, then bake it.
Did you order scallops, salmon, or sole fillets?
I cooked them all to order at the last minute to deliver freshness to the table.
What about country style French dishes?
Those were my pride - the type of comfort food that everyone loved – a steaming beef Burgundy, a hearty cassoulet. My guests enjoyed this back-to-the-basic food because it reminded them somehow of their childhood, their mother’s home-cooking. Simple, tasty, and full of love!
Last but not least… Love… Lots of LOVE!
When greeting my customers in the dining room, they would almost always tell me how they could feel the love in my cooking and my presentations.
That is the key: the love that you have when you prepare and you plate a dish that someone is going to see first, then taste, eat, enjoy, and remember for a long time.
That part is satisfying, so rewarding, so worth everything!
2 – The HISTORY of the dish
Where does this dish come from? When was it created?
Many of my guests at the restaurant were quite inquisitive about the history of the dishes on the menu.
We have a lot of very traditional food in France that has been served over many years, passed from generation to generation, and each one has its own interesting story.
That is an important part of the dish itself.
Plus, when you serve it to your guests at home, you will be able to tell the story. Everyone around the table will find it interesting.
3 – FACTS and TIDBITS about the ingredients
DID YOU KNOW…
… that prosciutto comes from the hind leg of the pig?
… that carrot leaves are edible?
… that chickens that lay white eggs are more prolific than chickens that lay brown eggs?
… that caramel making was first developed in Persia in the 7th century?
… that the vanilla of Tahiti needs man to grow and reproduce?
… that true, French Brie is unpasteurized?
… that Emperor Nero consumed leek-based concoctions to preserve his vocal chords?
… that we, in America, eat an average of 130 pounds of potatoes per person per year?
… that people in Europe believed that tomatoes were poisonous?
Do you know why anchovy is salty?
Do you know why your egg whites will be stiffer if you beat them in a copper bowl?
Do you know what a truffle is, if it is not made out of chocolate?
Do you know what a chicken should weigh when you buy it at the store, and why?
Do you know where the tradition of buckwheat flour crepes come from, and why?
If you watch my online French cooking classes, you will have the answers to ALL these questions and MANY MORE! I usually tell you all about the ingredients at the beginning or at the end of each cooking video.
If you think that French cooking is too difficult, you are a beginner, and you don’t think you can do this, YES, YOU CAN!!! All my recipes and demos are made simple, very simple, just for you.
If you think that French food is too rich, has too many calories, and it’s just not for you, YES, IT IS!!!
Enjoy these easy French food recipes and food videos.
For much more information on food - produce, meat, fish, dairy, etc. - I highly recommend the “LAROUSSE GASTRONOMIQUE, The World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia”. (This one is translated in English!)
Most chefs in France have it. It is a brilliant compilation of information that you cannot find anywhere else in one book.
First published in 1938 and constantly updated with cooking techniques, cooking terms, food history, biographies, information on cookware and kitchen equipment, world cuisines, modern culinary innovations, and more than 3,500 basic recipes, it is an extraordinary reference book. All subjects are mixed, but they are all classified in alphabetical order, which makes it very easy when you want to find a famous chef, a recipe, the origin of an ingredient, the varieties of lettuce, apples, or mushrooms, sea fish, freshwater fish, etc.
Why have a book like this when you have the Internet? You might ask. I find this book a time saver when you want to get some reliable information quickly. It is so comprehensive, your questions on one topic will be answered in one spot.
This book is not only for chefs or serious cooks. It is great for foodies who always want to know more about food, great for people with inquisitive minds, great to answer your kids’ or grand-kids’ questions on everything about food.
The world’s most authoritative culinary reference book.
“Larousse has a place of honor on every cookbook shelf in America.”, Martha Stewart
“It is critical to have a sound understanding of traditional culinary principles before attempting to push boundaries in cuisine. Larousse Gastronomique helps me execute the progressive cooking we do at Alinea”, Grant Achatz – Alinea, restaurant in Chicago with three stars in the Michelin Guide
“The history of food has never had a better biographer. Required reading for anyone who eats.”, Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of Blue Hill in Manhattan and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York.
“The bible of cooking. The all-time argument ender. Early in my cooking career, I wielded my Larousse like a weapon and it never let me down.”, Anthony Bourdain
“Larousse Gastronomique” has always been the first and last word on classic European techniques and recipes. I love that it has expanded its reach to cover world cuisines and modern culinary innovations, making it more indispensable than ever.”, Marcus Samuelsson, head chef of Red Rooster in Harlem, New York
“Larousse Gastronomique is clearly the best cooking encyclopedia ever, but I also love to open it anywhere and just read. The descriptions are clear and the recipes are easy to follow. Anyone who thinks French cooking is daunting will be forever changed by this book.”, Ina Garten, American author
“Young chefs, famous chefs, home cooks, and everyone who loves food and cooking – We all depend on Larousse Gastronomique. It is the only culinary encyclopedia that is always up-to-date.”, Daniel Boulud, French chef, owner of restaurants in New York City, Washington D.C., Las Vegas, Palm Beach, Miami, Montreal, Toronto, London, Singapore, and Boston
You can’t go into the chef’s office of any serious kitchen and not see a copy of Larousse. A must-have for professionals and home cooks alike”, David Chang, founder of the Momofuko restaurant group
The Larousse is the first place I look when I need to clarify a cooking question. The greatest reference book, it is a fascinating read.”, Jacques Pépin
Larousse is an invaluable tool for any cook. I’ve used this great resource all throughout my cooking career, and of course I look forward to the new edition. New information and knowledge are always welcome.”, Thomas Keller, American chef and food writer
Larousse Gastronomique is a veritable dictionary of cooking terms for the French kitchen. If a chef were allowed only one book, this would have to be it.”, Mario Batali, American restaurateur and food writer