I truly enjoyed the Magnolia Network TV Series “The Lost Kitchen,” and was delighted to find this memoir from the owner, who overcame a lot of adversity to get where she is. Erin French, in a no-holds-barred manner, tells of her childhood with an abusive father, her unplanned pregnancy, and a marriage to an abusive and controlling man. She tells of working 18 hour days in their successful restaurant while her husband did nothing, and then making the mistake of falling into abuse of drugs and alcohol just to keep functioning during those long workdays. When her husband staged an intervention, she went to rehab, but as soon as she was gone he closed the restaurant, drained their bank accounts, and took everything. Then she found out the papers she signed when they bought the restaurant put her husband’s name solely on the deed and her name solely on the mortgage. That tells me everything I need to know about this guy.
French tells a poignant story of starting over, fighting to get her son back, and beginning again with her now successful restaurant in her hometown of Freedom, Maine.
As someone who believes in second, third, and fourth chances, I truly loved this story. There are a few “F-bombs,” in the book, as others have said, but only a few. This is about enduring abuse, making mistakes, and then fighting to start again. It’s also the story of a girl who wants desperately to get out of her small town, does so, and then finds joy and peace when she returns to that very small town she wanted to leave so badly. I’ve always known you CAN go home again, and Erin French proves that point.
I saw a review on Amazon that said Ms. French is not a chef. She states that plainly herself. She is a self-taught cook who likes to use locally grown, organic meat and produce to make stunning dishes. Her restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, is so popular that people have to enter a lottery by postcard each year to get a reservation. Thousands of reservations pour in from all over the world for this 40 seat restaurant. So chef or not, she produces good food.
Fans of The Lost Kitchen, proponents of home grown, locally sourced food, and those who believe in second and third chances will enjoy this memoir.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin French is the owner and chef of The Lost Kitchen, a 40-seat restaurant in Freedom, Maine, that was recently named one of TIME Magazine’s World’s Greatest Places and one of “12 Restaurants Worth Traveling Across the World to Experience” by Bloomberg. A born-and-raised native of Maine, she learned early the simple pleasures of thoughtful food and the importance of gathering for a meal. Her love of sharing Maine and its delicious heritage with curious dinner guests and new friends alike has garnered attention in outlets such as The New York Times (her piece was one of the ten most read articles in the food section the year it was published), Martha Stewart Living, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and Food & Wine. She has been invited to share her story on NPR’s All Things Considered, The Chew, CBS This Morning, and The Today Show. Erin was featured in a short film made by Tastemade in partnership with L. L. Bean, which won a James Beard Award, and The Lost Kitchen Cookbook has been named one of the best cookbooks by The Washington Post, Vogue.com, and Remodelista and was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award.
BUY FINDING FREEDOM: A COOK’S STORY
ORDER A SIGNED COPY ON THE LOST KITCHEN WEBSITE
* I have ordered Erin’s cookbook, The Lost Kitchen, so expect a review soon!
5 thoughts on “Book Review: Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story”
One does not need to be a chef and be a good cook.
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With some of the food I’ve seen world-class chefs produce, I’d say it’s an advantage not to be a chef.
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No pressure right. There seems to be a lot of ego in it now.
I like the fact that this is a self-taught cook who went home to start over after rehab, employed her friends and family, and started a very successful restaurant. Good food AND second chances.
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Reading the blurb, I was thinking that she faced adversity nearly impossible to overcome. She must be one strong woman.
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I agree, Hien!