Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours and Aurum Books for the opportunity to read and review Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen for the blog tour.
Erin French grew up barefoot on a 25-acre farm in Maine, fell in love with food working the line at her dad’s diner and found her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th century mill. In her story of multiple rock-bottoms, from medical student to pregnant teen, of survival as a jobless single mother, heartbreak and addiction, she slowly rebuilt her personal and culinary life around the solace she found in food―as a source of comfort, a sense of place, as a way of creating community and making something of herself, despite seemingly impossible odds. Set against the backdrop of rural Maine and its lushly intense, bountiful seasons, Erin French’s rollercoaster memoir reveals the passion and courage behind the fairytale success of The Lost Kitchen.
As a British person, I hadn’t heard about Erin French before I read the synopsis for the book. However after reading this book about her life story, I wish I could hop on a plane to The Lost Kitchen in Maine to taste her food and meet Erin.
This is a book of highs and lows in the life of a young woman. Erin shares with her readers how her love of food developed, how she worked hard to leave her home town of Freedom in Maine to study and how she fell in love with her baby and her husband. She also details how she felt after leaving her studies unfinished, and when her prescribed medication addiction left her in rehab and alone – this is her brutally honest account about how low she felt. There is much more that I would like to talk about, but I don’t want to spoil the read by giving away what happens.
This is an emotional read, as Erin describes how her family relationships shaped her life and her career. Her love of using local fresh food in her cooking left me feeling constantly hungry. Erin isn’t a trained chef, as she regularly points out, but is someone who loves to cook for other people, who creates delicious meals.
This is a book about a love of food, being creative, finding strength to fight back from being penniless and alone, and discovering a new future. Happy to recommend to readers of my blog.
Erin French is the owner and chef of The Lost Kitchen, a 40-seat restaurant in Freedom, Maine, that was recently named one of the World’s Greatest Places by TIME Magazine. Booking is by postcard ballot on the first day of spring with over 20,000 postcards received last season. Erin French has written for The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living and The Wall Street Journal. Her first book, The Lost Kitchen Cookbook, was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award and named one of the best 2017 cookbooks by The Washington Post and Vogue. Erin French will host The Lost Kitchen TV show on Joanna and Chip Gaines’ new television network, the Magnolia Network, launching in March 2021.