Finding Freedom is a marvelous read, an emotionally charged story that is equal parts heartbreaking and uplifting ... While French styles herself as a bit of an introvert, there’s no denying that she can tell a tale ... The fact that she’s almost as good at putting these stories on the page as she is the plate is both impressive and ultimately unsurprising ... Did I cry while reading Finding Freedom? Absolutely, and not just during the “sad” moments. Sure, there are tragic events that elicit tears, but the surprise for me was how moved I was by some of the snapshots of joy. When she talks about the connection she feels with those she feeds, of food as representative of something both greater and granular … the tingle of emotion is undeniable. Happy tears are something of a rarity, but French’s passion brings them forth. Sharing something as honest as Finding Freedom has to be difficult, laying oneself bare and putting a warts-and-all account of a difficult journey. But in pushing through that difficulty, Erin French found her passion, her voice, her soul.
Food is at the front and center of Ms. French’s memoir and she writes lyrically about it. On their first visit to the diner, her grandfather handed her and her sister each a fried doughnut ... Ms. French tells a courageous story without sentimentality or self-pity. She has a sense of humor, an eye for detail and knows how to build tension. But what impresses me most about this book is her evocative writing about food. She describes it so well you can taste it.
French chronicles her struggles, failures and triumphs in a lyrically written new memoir ... The book ends before the pandemic begins. But this compelling, authentic tale of grit and determination leaves no doubt that French will find her way through this challenge, just like she did all the others.
An acclaimed chef and restaurateur offers engaging stories from the kitchen and beyond ... French demonstrates her talents as a storyteller, whether she’s discussing her early cooking career, which she spent managing the fryolator, serving clam baskets, and producing perfect soft-serve ice cream cones at her father’s diner; recounting a childhood replete with bucolic wonder ... or delineating her struggles as an adult. Despite these hardships, French refreshingly avoids unnecessary self-pity or sentimentality, and the life-affirming details are just as strong ... A canny life story from a determined woman with the gift of vision and the wherewithal to implement it.
In this affecting debut memoir, chef French unflinchingly chronicles the victories and failures that led to her establishing The Lost Kitchen, her renowned restaurant in Freedom, Maine ... She artfully describes her growing passion for cooking, which began when she started helping out at the diner at age 12 and intensified after she dropped out of college due to an unplanned pregnancy ... Readers will root for French and will be fascinated by her efforts at survival, redemption, and rejuvenation. Notably heavier on insight and lighter on hubris than the average chef memoir, this will speak to both the brokenhearted and those with kitchen dreams of their own.