of the first books that made me fall in love with France, and French
cuisine, was Roger Vergé’s Entertaining in
the French Style. Vergé was the chef and owner of Moulin
de Mougins, his world-famous restaurant on the Côte d’Azur, near Cannes.
I never went, but used to page through the book, admiring the relaxed,
friendly lifestyle that always seemed to revolve around a table, laden
with good food and plenty of local wine. It made me want to go and be a
part of it all.
a lot of chef books, this isn’t “aspirational” cooking, that is, pictures
and recipes of foods that you could never hope to make. I recently got a
book by a much-admired chef and I wanted to share a recipe. But there was
only one recipe in the book that could be made in less than a day, and
each recipe had at least one ingredient that I had no idea where I
would get it. Don’t get me wrong. I liked the book a lot and
his restaurant looks amazing, but it didn’t make me want to run to
the kitchen. So I admired the book, and the food, from afar.
are so many pictures in Chef Vergé’s book that made my flash back to
my past, decades ago, when I was learning more about French cuisine while
cooking in Northern California, which shares a similar climate – and
ingredients – with Provence. He had dubbed it “Cuisine of the Sun.” The
much-loved chef recently passed
away and I revisited the book, to relive what excited me
about French cuisine, way-back-when.