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A Chef's Tale: A Memoir of Food, France and America Hardcover – March 22, 1994

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Franey is best known as "the Sixty-Minute Gourmet," but he has also been a top New York chef at the legendary Le Pavillon and other restaurants, Craig Claiborne's long-time collaborator at the New York Times , and the author or coauthor of a dozen cookbooks (most recently, Pierre Franey's Cooking in America , LJ 4/15/92). His memoir with recipes covers his early life in France, cooking at the 1939 World's Fair as one of a crew that was introducing French food to Americans, and succeeding career highlights; the sections on his childhood seem somewhat stilted, but once he enters the culinary scene the reminiscences become more vivid. Many of the 100 recipes he includes are real French classics, often from the menu at Le Pavillon, although there are some updated or more recent dishes as well. Franey recently stopped writing his newspaper column, to the disappointment of many readers; his numerous fans ensure demand for his newest book. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 12/93.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

In these memoirs, legendary chef Pierre Franey reminisces over a rich life, placing an emphasis on hard work, playfulness, and great taste. He begins his story with his childhood in St. Vinnemer, a village in the Burgundy region of France, where his family's lives were deeply linked with the land and the food it provided. Then he takes the reader through his cooking apprenticeship in Paris at the age of 14, his transatlantic voyage on the Normandie (where he was one of the 120 top-rated French chefs onboard), and his American debut as a cook at the 1939 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York. There, in the French pavilion, he helped introduce French cuisine to the American public. Later, he earned fame working at Le Pavillon and La C{"}ote Basque in New York City. From there, he tells how his column in the New York Times--"The 60-Minute Gourmet"--led to more than a dozen books as well as cooking shows on public television. The autobiographical part of the book ends on a peaceful note as the author describes his current lifestyle, with time (at last) to dine among friends. The concluding section, almost one-third of the work, includes 100 of his trademark French recipes, such as his shrimp with tequila, the first recipe he ever did as a "60-Minute Gourmet" chef. Certain to be in high demand. Kathryn Broderick
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 259 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (March 22, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039458600X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394586007
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,286,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you're rushing through meal preparation with one eye onthe clock, or if you're picking up greasy bags of fast foodon your way home, this book will give you, pun intended, foodfor thought. The astounding thing about Pierre Franey's account of growing up in rural France is the obssessive,hands-on, all-encompassing effort to make the best use ofavailable resources to produce wonderful meals. Don't missthe tale of rabbit hunting with a secret weapon -- a petferret, or the story about stealing the pear. This is sobittersweet, it's unforgettable. AND it has recipes!!!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is about the man behind the PBS show "Cuisine Rapide." Watching Pierre Franey on PBS many years ago took my cooking to the next level. I went to college in the mornings and worked at night. Back then, there were only soap operas and cooking shows on in the afternoon. I sure as hell wasn't going to watch soap operas, so I started watching cooking shows. While Julia Child was always sure to teach me something new, I actually preferred Chef Franey's easy going style and matter of fact recipes. Along with Madeleine Kamman and Martin Yan, I learned so much from those afternoons watching PBS. In fact, I used to write down all of his recipes and it was only in the last few years that I bought any of his cookbooks. I really wish PBS or Create would bring back "Cuisine Rapide" as I am getting tired of "Baking with Julia" as I have most of those on VHS or the recently released DVD's.

This book has a whole section of recipes at the end, and Chef Franey gives the page number of some them during his narrative. I didn't know that he served with the U.S. Army during WWII and helped liberate his beloved France. He was kicked out of cooking school because he went AWOL, but instead of being punished, he was sent to an infantry unit instead. His story makes most of the current top chefs in this country look relatively lame by example. He was also Jacques Pepin's mentor when that great French chef came over here.

If you enjoy reading about chefs, and want to know what life was like in the French Apprentice, then this book may be worth your while. I also recommend checking out Chef Pepin's "The Apprentice".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great chef and a very special man.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great biography, great read.
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