“If I had any influence, I should be very glad if it had induced people to enjoy this wonderful world in which we’re born, and, of course, to help others to enjoy it too.” – E.M. Forster
Curious about how Le Chef et La Bonne Femme came about? Here’s the story so far.
Since my cookbook was published in late 2011, I’ve said “yes” just about anything that sounds like a good time*. Cooking on live TV, leading cooking classes, speaking at women’s groups and Alliance Francaise chapters, guest blogging—if it sounded like a chance to connect with people on the topic of food, pleasure, and France, I was “in.” I even said yes to a cooking with a
4-H group of meat-and-potatoes rural middle-school gardeners, just because it sounded like a good time. It was.
When I sell books at such events, that’s gravy. But the joy in it, for, me, is simply to connect with others. And have a good time.
And so, when chef David Baruthio mentioned that he would like to collaborate with me on cooking classes, Bonne Femme nights at his restaurant, and possibly a cookbook, I was all ears. It simply sounded like an enjoyable, fascinating—and fun—thing to do.
Baruthio is a French-born, French trained chef who has cooked in restaurants all over the world—from a Michelin-starred restaurant in Belgium, to a five-star hotel in Mongola, to Beverley Hills. Love landed landed him in, of all places, Des Moines, Iowa, where he opened his fabulous Baru 66 restaurant, which he co-owns with his wife, Iowa native Sara Hill, and another partner.
The chance to work with an energetic, ambitious French chef? Count me in. Together, we’re a good team. My current cookbook is all about the easy, everyday side of French home cooking. His restaurant serves the sort of refined, detailed, high-end French cuisine you’d expect from a highly skilled French chef.
We’re just getting started, but stay tuned. When we do publish it book, it will be filled with recipes that take the best from these two sides of French cuisine. Baruthio will imbue everyday bonne femme recipes with his creative, chef-driven touches. On the other side, we’ll also include “cheffie” recipes that tap into the sort of high-end gastronomy he showcases in his restaurant. But the bonne femme will have her say here, testing and perfecting the recipes—and asking all the right questions—to make sure that home cooks can pull them off in their own kitchens.
Our collaboration has, so far, netted a few recipes (mostly on the bonne femme side of the equation), including:
Étoufée de Poulet
Lamb Chops Chef et Bonne Femme
Farondole de Legumes de l’Été
Saumon à l’Oseille
There are many more to come of course. Meanwhile, if you’d like to find out more about this collaboration, contact us at sara@baru66 or email@example.com.
* within reason.