Cynthia Nims Talks SECRETS

IMG_4538B[1]“It’s the only book that resides full-time in my kitchen, tucked between the flour and coffee bins on the counter for easy access…If you’ve got a hankering for homemade ice cream or need some guidelines for fish stock, you’ll find it here. Some of the offerings are perfect as-is recipes.” (Cynthia Nims in Mon Appetit)

La Varenne alumna, Cynthia Nims, has published a review of SECRETS on her website. I am in awe of the tattered and well-loved copies that have been popping up through our alumni network. It is a thrill to be able to now share this most-useful book with the world. Cheers, Anne



Sugar and Sweets has arrived!

OCSS cover OCSS cover (2)The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets is finally here! It was an absolute pleasure to contribute a chapter on French desserts, but an even greater pleasure to have the complete book in our office. This comprehensive encyclopedia contains detailed descriptions on everything from laddu to layer cake, this is a must-have title for any kitchen.

“France became one of the first countries to explore the possibilities of sugar when cheap supplies came flooding in from the Caribbean and South America at the start of the seventeenth century… France is the home of petits fours, a term that first appeared in Patissier francois in 1653 and referred to the little ovens that had been invented, designed for baking miniature versions of almond cakes, puff pastries, and small cookies. These dry little cakes are often sold in bulk for nibbling at home, the nearest thing to cookies for the American cookie jar.” (Anne Willan, The Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets)

Six Questions with Caroline Wright


In honor of the launch of her new website, we sat down with La Varenne alumna Caroline Wright to ask her a few questions. Caroline gave us the dish on her career in food, her newest book and what it’s like to work with a toddler in the mix!

1. What inspired you to pursue a career in food? Was there a meal, a place, a person that made you realize that cooking was more than a hobby for you?

I always enjoyed cooking as a hobby throughout my childhood — looking up recipes, learning about how dishes were made and serving them to my family as a special occasion. However, when I went to college in Paris as a literature student, I lived just near my university on a market street called Rue Cler. I had never known fresh produce like that, or such a consummate culture of good eating as I then saw in Paris. Like me, everyone there was spending their days wondering what to cook or eat next but with skill and access to ingredients that I hadn’t yet seen before. (more…)

The Burma Cookbook!

Burma-cookbook-Burma-food-tour-213x300The Burma Cookbook, by alumnus Robert Cormack and his partner Morrison Polkinhorne, has been shortlisted for the ‘Best in the World,’ as well as ‘Best Foreign-International Cookbook’ by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

With over ten years in the making, this deliciously illustrated book will transport you to another place. From the Anglo-Burmese recipes of the past to the dishes of today, The Burma Cookbook offers easy to follow recipes as well as a comprehensive glossary.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards will be held on June 9th in Yantai, China. We will be wishing our dear friends Robert and Morrison the very best from Santa Monica, CA. Congrats!

5-27-15 Anne Willan Talks Secrets from the Culinary Road

LaVarenne_FrontCoverOn May 27th, Anne Willan will be joining WILFSLA and The Kitchen Terminal in Redondo Beach for a very special evening of food, wine and stories. Enjoy nibbles from Anne’s latest book as she dishes on how a part-time job teaching glove-making evolved into an amazing career in food. For details or to buy tickets click here.

May 27th, 2015 from 7-8:30pm
The Kitchen Terminal
2617 Manhattan Beach Blvd
Redondo Beach, CA 9027
(424) 297-0409

Read More »

May 9th — Mother’s Day Class with Bruce Kalman!

PastaThere is still space available for our May 9th class with Bruce Kalman of Union Restaurant in Pasadena. Learn his secrets to homemade pickling, pasta by hand and that world famous porchetta with salsa verde. Bruce has developed a fresh and seasonal menu that is sure to inspire and delight us all. We are so happy to have this LA up and comer here at La Varenne. For more information or to sign up, email or phone us at 310-396-7464.

Don’t Forget! Anne Willan in Orange County THIS WEEKEND!

BwtflBT38Mh3XobC__2Y-ayVOIEg7DX13Lm8goRDVi8[1]Anne Willan is teaming up with her dear friends at Vin Goat in Corona Del Mar to bring you a very special event. Listen, look and taste the SECRETS from Anne’s La Varenne Kitchen over conversation, wine and some rather unusual nibbles. Anne will be dishing the stories behind some of history’s greatest recipes. Learn about classic mayonnaise, hollandaise, choux pastry and more. This very special evening is not to be missed! Sign up today as space is limited.

6:30-8:30pm 2 May 2015, Vin Goat Corona Del Mar 3326 East Coast Highway, Corona Del Mar, CA 92625 (949) 673-2200


Edhat Santa Barbara Recaps 2nd Annual Food & Wine Weekend

DSC06418 (2)“The seminars I selected to attended were all so interesting and well presented, and the chef food demonstrations offered a taste of some unforgettable samples and sips.” (Bonnie Carroll, edhat Santa Barbara)

Bonnie Carroll did a marvelous job recapping our lovely weekend in Santa Barbara. She says that the panels were, “both highly educational and totally inspiring for guests who love to cook, love fine food and wine, love the history of cookbooks, or need to know what to do with all those cookbooks  they’ve collected over the years…” The delicious food and fascinating panels made this an unforgettable weekend indeed. I so enjoyed taking part in the panel and I am looking forward to next year! Click here for the full article. Cheers, Anne


New Julia Child Award Announced

recipients[1]The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts has announced some very exciting news! They will be rolling out the first ever Julia Child Award this October to honor an individual who has improved how Americans think about what they cook, eat, and drink. The Foundation plans to present this Award in association with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History at a Gala held in conjunction with the museum’s inaugural Food History Weekend in Washington, D.C. on October 22, 2015. The winner will receive a $50,000 grant from the Foundation provided to a food-related non-profit of the recipient’s choosing. For more information on the Award please visit:

Next Page »