Grand Diplôme graduate of Paris’s Le Cordon Bleu, co-author of The Ethnic Paris Cookbook, as well as a private chef, caterer, cooking instructor, food consultant, and hostess.
Having grown up eating shrimp and grits in my native Charleston, South Carolina, I arrived in Paris over twenty years ago—by way of a three-year work stint in Entebbe, Uganda—with basic culinary knowledge, unlimited curiosity and a very big appetite. Early on, I enrolled in the renowned French cookery school, Le Cordon Bleu, where I acquired a solid knowledge of what goes into French cooking: the techniques, the ingredients and most importantly the focus on eating seasonally and locally.
This passion for food has taken me all over France in search of new and untried produce and recipes. “Oh, that looks good—wonder what it is. Maybe I should try it!” has been a constant refrain running through my head for over two decades as I have learned, taught, thought and written about food—and, of course, cooked it. My three children – triplets – have been with me all along the way and have been invaluable helpers, taste-testers and critics.
My cooking style is rooted in French fare, that is undeniable; however, I have enjoyed welcoming the influence of other cuisines into my kitchen from North African and Middle Eastern to Asian and the Far East with their wide range of exciting textures and extraordinary palate of flavors. The Ethnic Paris Cookbook, which I co-authored in 2007, reflects my attachment to marrying different foods. My travels continue to take me to different corners of the world, and whether I’m back in the comfort of my family home in Charleston or in Aix-en-Provence or in Singapore, I continue to have a roaming eye for new recipes and different mixes of herbs, spices and foods.
My approach to cooking is relaxed and informal. Whether you are an affirmed cook or a novice, my cooking classes cater to all levels. The recipes are simple and can easily be recreated in your own kitchen. My aim is to have everyone who leaves my kitchen walk away not only with a new recipe to share with family or friends but also with a better appreciation and understanding for French cooking and food culture.
In addition to my cooking classes, I enjoy preparing private lunches and dinners for groups anywhere from four to two hundred. It can be for special events such as weddings, anniversaries, bridal shower or a company function or simply a special “home cooked” meal with friends. The menus are personalized depending on the season, the occasion and the budget.
I feel so very lucky to live in a country where people are so passionate about cooking, eating and drinking together. My favorite memories from my decades in France are from moments around the table, listening to tales well told and eating well… la joie de vivre à la française!