Book Buzz: The French Ingredient

The French Ingredient: Making a Life in Paris One Lesson at a Time by Jane Bertch 

Midwesterner Jane Bertch wasn’t much of a world traveler when her job in finance took her overseas. But after spending several years in London, she felt ready to sign on to life in Paris. It wasn’t long before she fell in love with the city and with the idea of opening her own business there. Together with her partner, Jane embarked on what seemed an impossible dream: starting a cooking school for tourists. In this warm and engaging memoir, Jane relates her journey to opening Le Cuisine Paris with no culinary background and only a few connections. She faces a host of obstacles, some of which she expected (the famously thorny French bureaucracy) and others that came out of nowhere, like complaining neighbors, pandemic lockdowns and even a surprisingly significant Dijon mustard shortage. Through it all, Jane keeps pushing on. Readers will be enchanted by her drive to turn Le Cuisine into a world-renowned destination for foodies. Full of candor, wit and plenty of butter, this can-do memoir is a can’t-miss read.  

Reviewed by Mary Kinser, collection development librarian, Whatcom County Library System

(Originally published in Bellingham Alive May 2024 issue.)