In 2003, Kathleen Flinn was a thirty-six-year-old American in London who felt trapped in corporate middle management - until her boss eliminated her job while she was on vacation. Ignoring her mother's advice that she find another job immediately or "never get hired anywhere ever again," Flinn cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream - a diploma from the venerable Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
But instead of being ushered into "a glamorous world of soufflÃ©s and foie gras," Flinn found herself struggling in a stew of hot-tempered chefs, competitive classmates, and her own "wretchedly inadequate" French. She trudged home traumatized by gutting fish, severing the heads off rabbits, and dropping an entire roast duck on the floor moments before having to present her plate to the presiding chef. One day she was even advised that her tronÃ§ons de colin pochÃ©s needed "a bit more salt" from the homeless man who sat near the school's entrance. As the story moves through the various classes, the basics of French cuisine--the ingredients, cooking techniques, wine, and more than two dozen recipes--are interwoven, but not every page is spent in the kitchen. Flinn also offers the experience of the vibrant sights and sounds of the markets, shops, and avenues of Paris. In time, Flinn triumphs in her battle with puff pastry, masters her sauces, and wins over the toughest of chefs. More importantly, though, she finds within herself the strength to pause on the usual journey and challenge a career-focused mind set and attempt a discovery of what really matters to her. She even comes to realize that the love of her life has been right in front of her the whole time. Fans of Julie & Julia, Cooking for Mr. Latte, and Eat, Pray, Love will be amused, inspired, and richly rewarded by this vibrant tale of romance, food, Paris, and chasing a life's dream.