Franco File Friday: Rachel Khoo (+ a giveaway!)

Unless you count perfectly runny scrambled eggs and heaping plates of pasta (my go-to meals when I lived in the States), I think it's fair to say I really learned to cook in France. What's more, I learned under somewhat unfavorable conditions. My kitchen was no larger than a broom closet and my guinea pig was a discerning Frenchman accustomed to French classics. The pressure was high.

If anyone is an expert at optimizing small spaces and demystifying French cooking it's Rachel Khoo, Cordon Bleu-trained chef and author of The Little Paris KitchenAfter landing the book deal, Rachel realized that testing 120 recipes was going to produce more food than she could possibly eat herself so she transformed her tiny apartment (22m2!) into a twice-weekly pop-up restaurant. No food would go to waste and a few lucky diners would get to provide feedback on her French recipes (done simply). The press took note of Rachel's concept and BBC2 saw the potential to parlay the idea into a cooking series. In March of last year, she assumed her role as host of The Little Paris Kitchen cooking show, which now airs in several other countries, and is hard at work on book number two.

Across all touch points, Rachel has shown that no one, not even amateur cooks, should feel daunted by French recipes. "You're English, you can't cook!", French chefs told her initially. Oh yes she can.

Meet Britain's most charming chef in Paris!

Describe in three words what you love most about France. 
Fresh food markets

The most important thing to remember about cooking French dishes?

Not  just relevant to cooking French dishes but it applies to cooking in general. The better quality produce, the less work in the kitchen it needs. For example a ripe, in season tomato can be eaten with a sprinkle of salt whereas a greenhouse-grown Winter tomato will lack in flavour and will need to be dressed with many other ingredients.

After being on the road, your go-to spot in Paris for a good meal? 
After being on the road I want to eat home cooked food which involves me going to the market and stocking up on lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. It's what I crave most as eating out usually isn't a light affair.

Something you never leave France without?
My notebook. It travels with me everywhere. A must for writing down any inspiration which might come to me while travelling. Ideas for recipes come to me in the most random places!
Most frustrating interaction with the French?
Taxi drivers. I always dread taking a French taxi as I have dealt with so many grumpy and rude drivers. I'm sure there are a couple of nice French taxi drivers out there but somehow I always get the wrong one!


If you'd like to win a copy of The Little Paris Kitchen (winner must have a mailing address in North America), leave a comment below telling me which French dish you're most eager to learn to cook. 

For extra entries: 
- Follow Rachel on Twitter @rkhooks (and include a comment telling me you did)
- Follow Lost In Cheeseland on Facebook  (and include a comment telling me you did)

Entries will close Wednesday, March 13 and the two winners will be announced at the bottom of this post and contacted via email. 

Update: Congratulations to Susan H. and Anne Maxfield! Thanks for playing everyone.

Connect with Rachel and follow her journey!
Twitter: @rkhooks
Facebook: Rachel Khoo
The show: The Little Paris Kitchen
The blog: Tasty Tales from Paris and Beyond

And check out all three of her books HERE.

Lost In Cheeseland | Franco File Friday posts
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