FROM THE BOOK JACKET: 

When Jane Bertch was seventeen, her mother took her on a graduation trip to Paris. Thrilled to use her high school French, Jane found her halting attempts greeted with withering condescension by every waiter and shopkeeper she encountered. At the end of the trip, she vowed she would never return.

Yet a decade later she found herself back in Paris, transferred there by the American bank she worked for. She became fluent in the language and excelled in her new position. But she had a different dream: to start a cooking school for foreigners like her, who wanted to take a few classes in French cuisine in a friendly setting, then bring their new skills to their kitchens back home. Predictably, Jane faced the skeptical French—how dare an American banker start a cooking school in Paris?—as well as real-estate nightmares, and a long struggle to find and attract clients.

Thanks to Jane's perseverance, La Cuisine Paris opened in 2009. Now the school is thriving, welcoming international visitors to come in and knead dough, whisk bechamel, whip meringue, and learn the care, precision, patience, and beauty involved in French cooking.

The French Ingredient is the story of a young female entrepreneur building a life in a city and culture she grew to love. As she established her school, Jane learned how to charm, how to project confidence, and how to give it right back to rude waiters. Having finally made peace with the city she swore to never revisit, she now offers a love letter to France, and a master class in Parisian cooking—and living.

Jane Bertch profile imageABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Jane Bertch has spent more than two decades living and working in Europe. In 2009, she started La Cuisine Paris, which has become the largest nonprofessional culinary school in France. She holds a BA in English, an MA in labor and industrial relations from the University of Illinois, and an executive MA from the French business school INSEAD. The French Ingredient is her first book.


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