Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world's most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse). After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin's PBS cooking show, "Fast Food, My Way", Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie. In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. "More Fast Food, My Way" should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall. Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

Fraises de Plougastel – Strawberries from Plougastel

Strawberries from the Plougastel farmers market According to the wildly popular wikipedia (which had an interesting article in yesterdays Wall Street Journal), the strawberry is “an accessory fruit; that is, the fleshy part is derived not from the ovaries (which are the “seeds”, actually achenes) but from the peg at the bottom of the hypanthium … Continue reading Fraises de Plougastel – Strawberries from Plougastel →

Cold Soup for a Hot Day

Did I mention it’s been hot here? Like really, REALLY hot. Like high 90s with high humidity hot. Like New York City in August stuck on the 3 express at rush hour hot. You get the picture. One way we try to beat the heat here is to picnic along the banks of the Seine. … Continue reading Cold Soup for a Hot Day →

Bastille Day et Tarte aux Abricots avec Noisettes et Eau-de-Vie

Yesterday was Bastille Day, France’s Independence Day which, like the US is celebrated with parades and red, white and blue flags. That’s where the similarity ends. At least from my vantage point. The parade was much more of a military parade with marching soldiers and imposing tanks flexing their military muscle down the Champs-Elysees rather … Continue reading Bastille Day et Tarte aux Abricots avec Noisettes et Eau-de-Vie →

Le Quatre Juillet et Tarte aux Pommes

Kendall’s tres clever centerpiece. Someone snagged the bag of peanut m&m’s before I could start snapping… Le Quatre Juillet et Tarte aux Pommes ~ 4th of July and Apple Pie How does one celebrate the 4th of July in France? With hot dogs and hamburgers and apple pie, of course! You don’t think we’d eat … Continue reading Le Quatre Juillet et Tarte aux Pommes →

Mojo in Montchanin

Chilled white wine and cherries on the bank of the Canal du Midi in Montchanin, Burgundy. The barge, Libertijn of Alphen, in the background. Fete de la Musique was celebrated across France last Thursday but some celebrations continued into the weekend. Fortunately for me, one such celebration was just across the road from where my … Continue reading Mojo in Montchanin →

Hangin’ Out in Paris

Hangin’ out on the Champ de Mars at the Eiffel Tower Hangin’ out. Like tying a scarf, the French have elevated hangin’ out to an art form. I think it’s in their genes. People here just hang out. Everywhere. All the time. Parks. Cafes. Squares. After two years here I still struggle with this concept … Continue reading Hangin’ Out in Paris →

Bonjour l’Ete! Hello Summer!

After seven, yes SEVEN, months of winter, summer has finally arrived. At least I think it has. It’s been glorious with bright blue skies and a bone-warming sun for the past week. We’ll see how long it lasts…. So another reason, along with 3 Bay Area friends in town, to have a dinner party and … Continue reading Bonjour l’Ete! Hello Summer! →

Bienvenue au Printemps…Encore!

My friend James, a fellow Silicon Valley refugee who moved to Berlin to follow his artistic dream, was in town and the thermometer was actually creeping above 60 degrees so why not re-celebrate spring, or celebrate the 2nd nice day of the year along with my friend’s visit than a little dinner party. I have … Continue reading Bienvenue au Printemps…Encore! →

Cooking the Code, DaVinci Style

Continuing from last week’s musing being up close and personal on the set of The DaVinci Code movie, I’m sure you are wondering if or where the actual cooking took place… Well look no further… The chateau kitchen is huge, really huge, not well equipped but huge, and should I actually own a home someday … Continue reading Cooking the Code, DaVinci Style →

Chateau Cooking, DaVinci Style

Place de la Concorde metro station in Paris For those of you who have spent the past three years living with an indigenous tribe in sub-Saharan Africa, you might not have heard of The DaVinci Code. For the other four billion plus of us, we have been inundated with Code media the likes of which … Continue reading Chateau Cooking, DaVinci Style →

Poulet du Printemps et Tajine d’Agneau

Springtime, a Spring Chicken and Lamb Tagine One thing I love about the French is their fascination with learning new English words or phrases. Take my boulanger, Jean-Marc, below. I taught him the phrase “poulet du printemps” (poo-lay do prahn-ton) or spring chicken. His first response was “I am not a hen!” Once I explained … Continue reading Poulet du Printemps et Tajine d’Agneau →

Lunch at Le Crillon

Where is the first place you call when your manager asks you to plan an executive lunch in Paris? Uh…. Le Crillon, bien sur! The Grande Dame of Paris has recently undergone a $25 million renovation to restore it to its original grandeur. Originally commissioned by Louis XV to architect Jacques-Ange Gabriel in 1758 to … Continue reading Lunch at Le Crillon →

Buona Pasqua et Vin Aigre

What does an award-winning Italian chef make for family and friends at Easter? We know what he makes for Christmas, but Easter? Why lamb chops stuffed with prosciutto, fontina and wild mushrooms in a red wine sauce of course! Not to mention 3 types of pasta and one enormous chocolate easter egg. I spent Easter … Continue reading Buona Pasqua et Vin Aigre →