3-14-15 Anne’s Very First Talk on “Secrets from La Varenne Kitchen”

LaVarenne_FrontCoverJoin Anne at Culinary Historians of Southern California for her first talk on her upcoming, Secrets from La Varenne Kitchen. Never before available outside the walls of the La Varenne Cooking School, Secrets contains the 50 basic recipes that every cook should know. Hear the history, learn the stories, and taste the dishes behind this indispensable resource.

14 March 2015, Mark Taper Auditorium, Downtown Central Library at 10:30AM
630 W. 5th St., Los Angeles CA

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3-1-15 Anne Talks History and Food at Laguna Niguel Library

TheCookbookLibraryOn March 1st, Anne will present “The Cookbook Tree of Life”, at the Laguna Niguel Library in Orange County. She will speak on the origins and evolution of the modern cookbook. Spanning four centuries, from the spiced sauces of medieval times to the massive roasts and ragouts of Louis XIV’s court to the elegant eighteenth-century chilled desserts, Anne will describe how each cookbook reflects its time.

1 March 2015, Laguna Niguel Library at 2:00PM
30341 Crown Valley Parkway, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677


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Anne to be Keynote Speaker at the Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery

OSFC-2015-logo-onlyThis Summer, Anne will be at the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery to deliver The Jane Grigson Trust Memorial Lecture. The symposium runs from July 3rd through the 5th and Anne’s lecture will be held that Friday evening. This annual, weekend-long conference is the oldest gathering on food, its culture, and its history and brings together experts from a variety of backgrounds who share this common passion. This year’s theme is Food and Communication.

3-5 July 2015, St Catherine’s College, Oxford
For more information on the event, you can visit here.

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2-28-15 Sal Marino Joins La Varenne for Class

salvatore pomodoriOn February 28th, Salvatore Marino will bring his inimitable, contemporary Italian style cooking to La Varenne for a taste of Spring!

Sal has always cultivated more than just Italian dishes for his diners — he brings a life-long passion of craftsmanship and ingredients to the kitchens of Il Grano. As a second generation restaurateur, Marino grew up in and around the kitchen. After years of “unofficial training” in his father’s restaurant, he went to Italy and worked throughout the Italian peninsula in all kinds of local eateries, including the Michelin three-star Gualtiero Marchesi and the two-star Tornavento. In 1997, Sal opened Il Grano with the help of his brother, Mario and his sister Rosanna. Recently, this team opened La Bottega Marino, a lower-priced Italian deli restaurant right next door to Il Grano. Any night of the week you can find Sal cooking away in the adjoining kitchen.

Sal’s restaurants have received praise from such local publications as the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles magazine as well as national magazines like Bon Appetit, The Wine Spectator and Food & Wine. Recent accolades include #1 Italian Restaurant in LA on Gayot.com, Top 10 in the US on Opinionated About Dining.com, and Top 99 Best Restaurants 2013 in LA Weekly.

To sign up  call 310.396.7464 or email nicole@lavarenne.com


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Making Yule Bread

Anne with Yule BreadIn preparation for my family’s arrival and keeping with Christmas tradition, I spent the weekend making ten batches of my Aunt Louie’s Yule Bread. This year we turned out eighteen small and six large loaves!

The small ones we wrap in cellophane and ribbon and give to our neighbors and friends, and it is tradition to gift one large loaf to each of my two children. The remaining large loaves we serve for breakfast through the holiday, toasted or plain and spread with butter.

I look forward to making my Aunt Louie’s Yule Bread each year. It takes me right back, remembering the days when the aroma of Christmas bread wafted through the house. Cheers!

Happy Christmas! – Anne

Talleyrand at Dinner

Talleyrand_01I have just happened upon this charming piece written by Mark, my husband, as I was doing some research on Antonin Carême and the dishes he cooked for Talleyrand in the early 19th century. What a good find!

“I’ve recently come across an anecdote about Talleyrand at dinner in Paris, which I have never seen before in the usual sources. It appears in the 1787-1817 diaries of Frances, Lady Shelley (published for the first and last time in 1912) and caught the attention of Maria Polushkin Robbins, editor of the small “The Cook’s Quotation Book – A Literary Feast” published in 1983 by Pushcart Press in New York. I suspect that Lady Shelley’s diary remained obscure until it was added to student reading lists and it has now been reproduced widely in inexpensive editions available from Amazon.com.

I checked the quotation in Ms. Robbins’ book against the original in the diaries themselves and it is in essence the same. The date is August 25. No year is given but evidently the Duke of Wellington was in Paris just before the battle of Waterloo and accompanied Lady Shelley to dinner to mark the occasion. Lady Shelley was Frances Winkley by birth and married the heir to the Shelley baronetcy, thus becoming the poet’s aunt. Her diary is a lively, colourful account of her socializing in Pars at a time when so many legendary figures were there to negotiate a lasting European peace.

“…Let’s go to Crauford’s and end with Talleyrand’s,” she said. After a number of other observations, Lady Shelley continues: “At the beginning of the week we dined with Talleyrand… During the whole repast the general conversation was upon eating. Every dish was discussed, and the antiquity of every bottle of wine supplied the most eloquent annotations. Talleyrand himself analysed the dinner with as much interest and seriousness as if he had been discussing some political question of importance.”

In my own experience of accompanying my foodie wife, Anne Willan, on special dining occasions, I have observed how the topic of cooking, eating and drinking can take over the entire conversation. I am encouraged that even such an august personage as the Prince de Talleyrand fell into the same habit and wonder if it is peculiar to the French? The British, I suspect, are sill embarrassed by conversation about food and cooks, and prefer small talk about the weather. Or has the rise of celebrity chefs in England changed the dynamic of English table talk while dining?”

La Cocina Que Canta

The beautiful Rancho La Puerta in Baja, California.Next Fall I’ll be headed South of the border to Rancho La Puerta, where my dear friend Virginia Willis and I will be teaching three cooking classes, two hands-on and one demonstration, all with healthful ingredients, if you can imagine that!

Rancho La Puerta is beautiful spa and hotel with an organic garden, and just a quick jaunt across the border from San Diego. Classes will be held between November 7 through 13. Hope to see you there!

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Anne Willan to Food & Wine Weekend in Santa Barbara

julia1Anne Willan will be joining Santa Barbara’s top chefs, artisans and winemakers for a Food & Wine Weekend at Bacara from April 16th through 19th, 2015. Inspired by Julia Child’s lifelong passion for learning and love of eating well, this three-day culinary weekend will feature cooking classes, wine tastings and panel discussions. A portion of the proceeds benefits The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts.

For tickets or more information, please visit here, or call (855) 456-6800.

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Petits Propos Culinaires Reviews “One Soufflé at a Time”

PPC101“One summer pleasure was to linger over Anne Willan’s memoir, written with Amy Friedman, called One Soufflé at a Time,” writes Tom Jaine in Petits Propos Culinaires.

PPC is an international journal on food, food history, cookery and cookery books. Mark and I are on the board of editorial advisors and it is truly one of our favorite journals. It is edited and produced in Britain and has been coming out three times a year since the beginning of 1979 when a group including Elizabeth David, Alan Davidson, and Richard Olney founded it. It is edited in Devon by Tom Jaine and published by Prospect Books.

I am very happy to see a short review of my memoir in the 101st issue of the journal:  “Her memoir is full of everything you can imagine: travel, family life, personalities… A sense of well-being shines forth from these pages. And there are also plenty of recipes. Many will know that Willan recipes work.”

To read the full article, visit their website here.

Cheers, Anne

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