A Chef's Tale


A Chef's Tale

A Memoir of Food, France, and America

Pierre Franey
With Richard Flaste and Bryan Miller
Introduction by Eugenia Bone

At Table Series

288 pages
36 illustrations, 101 recipes


December 2010


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

The embodiment of the art and pleasure of French cookery, Pierre Franey (1921–96) was one of the most influential and beloved of America’s culinary figures. Before creating his “60-Minute Gourmet” column in the New York Times, writing his celebrated cookbooks, and entering our homes via television, Franey presided over the cuisine at two of the greatest French restaurants in America: the legendary Le Pavillon, then La Côte Basque.
With style, charm, and affection for his native France and adopted America, Franey takes us into his life in the world of food, interweaving his story with irresistible recipes and, here and there, impulsively giving away a chef’s secrets.
He takes us into his childhood in Burgundy, where the bountiful produce and the high respect accorded to the preparation of food grounded Franey in a tradition that would serve him well when he began his apprenticeship at age fourteen in Paris restaurants. In A Chef’s Tale, Franey relives the days of America’s French food revolution and adds immeasurably to our sophistication about the great world of French cooking—and about cooking itself.

Author Bio

Richard Flaste has collaborated on three previous books with Pierre Franey, including Pierre Franey’s Cooking in America. Bryan Miller is the author of The New York Times Guide to Restaurants in New York City and has collaborated on books with Pierre Franey. Eugenia Bone is the author of three cookbooks, of which the most recent is Well Preserved: Recipes and Techniques for Putting Up Small Batches of Seasonal Foods.


“In these memoirs, legendary chef Pierre Franey reminisces over a rich life, placing an emphasis on hard work, playfulness, and great taste.”—Booklist

“With characteristic respect for both the food and the home cook, Franey offers recipes for such basics as fish broth, Coq au Vin and Creme Brulee and more elegant treatments such as Lobster Pavillon and Quenelles de Brochet Lyonnaise. This is an enchanting memoir and a worthy collection of recipes.”—Publishers Weekly

“[Franey] looks back with clarity, precision, and considerable charm on his Burgundy childhood in a food-centered family; his rigorous training in Paris eateries (after leaving home and school forever at 14); and his American career as a French chef making his name in restaurant kitchens, newspaper columns, cookbooks, and television series. ‘Anyone who has ever tried to cook well knows that about fifty percent of the job is focus, the willingness to concentrate,’ Franey notes. His own ability to focus on the details of food preparation combines with the specificity of his recollections to make his memoir solidly evocative.”—Kirkus

“I was thrilled to read A Chef’s Tale, and to learn more about Mr. Franey’s brilliant career. For me and our generation of French American chefs, he was our idol. Not only is he a great chef, but as his book shows, a very special man.”—André Soltner, French Culinary Institute, New York

“Pierre Franey’s memoir is very close to my heart. He has been a mentor and an inspiration to me. His recollections are truly a history of the way food has evolved in America during the last quarter century.”—Jacques Pépin

“A wonderful book. A tale of a great chef and a wonderful man.”—Sirio Maccioni, Le Cirque

Table of Contents

Introduction by Eugenia Bone
1. Homecoming
2. Reverence and the River
3. Paris: From the Bottom Up
4. France Is Fading
5. Innocents in New York
6. War
7. Yes or No: The Army
8. Soulé and Me
9. My Own Column
Epilogue: Cooking with Friends

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