The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World's Most Famous Cooking School

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World's Most Famous Cooking School

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by Kathleen Flinn
     
 

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Kathleen Flinn's unforgettable, New York Times Bestselling account of her French culinary adventures

Kathleen Flinn was a thirty-six-year-old middle manager trapped on the corporate ladder - until her boss eliminated her job. Instead of sulking, she took the opportunity to check out of the rat race for good - cashing in her savings, moving to Paris, and

Overview

Kathleen Flinn's unforgettable, New York Times Bestselling account of her French culinary adventures

Kathleen Flinn was a thirty-six-year-old middle manager trapped on the corporate ladder - until her boss eliminated her job. Instead of sulking, she took the opportunity to check out of the rat race for good - cashing in her savings, moving to Paris, and landing a spot at the venerable Le Cordon Blue cooking school.

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the funny and inspiring account of her struggle in a stew of hot-tempered, chefs, competitive classmates, her own "wretchedly inadequate" French - and how she mastered the basics of French cuisine. Filled with rich, sensual details of her time in the kitchen - the ingredients, cooking techniques, wine, and more than two dozen recipes - and the vibrant sights and sounds of the markets, shops, and avenues of Paris, it is also a journey of self-discovery, transformation, and, ultimately, love.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

When the author, an American journalist and software executive working in London, is sacked from her high-powered job, she enrolls as a student at the Cordon Bleu school in Paris. With limited cooking skills and grasp of the French language, she gamely attempts to master the school's challenging curriculum of traditional French cuisine. As if she didn't have enough on her plate eviscerating fish and knocking out pâtéà choux, she determines to write a book about her experience and gets married along the way. The result is a readable if sentimental chronicle of that year in Paris in which her love life is explored in great detail, dirty weekends and all, and cooking features as a metaphor for self-discovery. Some readers may feel disappointed that the narrator's encounters with French cookery remain largely confined to her lessons at the Cordon Bleu. On those rare occasions when she ventures into the food-obsessed city, the descriptions of meals are glancing at best. Although her struggles with the language and lack of knowledge about the culture lend comic elements to the story (once, trying to order a pizza over the phone, she said, "Je suis une pizza"-I am a pizza), they, too, constrain the author's culinary explorations. (Oct.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
This tasty offering . . . seems destined to earn an honored place on the crowded bookshelves of many foodie readers.
Kirkus Reviews
An American expatriate follows her dream to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. When 36-year-old software executive Flinn got fired in 2003, she was faced with a choice: She could look for another job or pursue her passion. Actually, it's two passions: cooking, and a man. While a corporate wage-slave, she feared making a commitment to Mike back in Seattle. Now unemployed, single and with no country to call home, nothing held her back. She called Mike, drained her savings, moved with him to Paris and started classes. Part memoir, part insider's look at the famed culinary institute where the world's elite chefs have been trained in the art of French haute cuisine, the text takes the form of chronological chapters interweaving lessons learned at the school with lessons learned about life. We meet characters both eccentric and multicultural, from the seemingly bipolar Gray Chef to a roster of far-flung classmates. The range of students from Europe, America, South America, Asia and the Middle East makes it apparent that French cuisine is now global, but Flinn merely touches on that theme. It's not the only potentially fascinating topic she scants; she barely seems to notice that Paris now competes with London, formerly the butt of many jokes about bad food, as the home of superlative dining. Instead, Flinn attempts to use cooking as a life metaphor, a dicey tactic when your personal revelations mostly resemble outtakes from Sex and the City. The book is best when she sticks to cooking, France's culinary history, diverse regional traditions and the challenges of meeting the impeccable standards of Le Cordon Bleu's demanding chefs. A fascinating look inside a famed elite institution, unnecessarilygarnished with lackluster autobiography. Agent: Larry Weissman/Larry Weissman, LLC

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781440638190
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/02/2008
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
172,348
File size:
494 KB
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Bill Radke
A joy to read . . . A compelling story about learning to cook and learning to love at the same time, told with humility, humor, and passion. (Bill Radke, host of NPR's Weekend America)
Elizabeth Gilbert
I can never get enough of true stories about people who stop in the middle of their life's journey to ask, 'What do I really want?' and then have the guts to actually go get it. Kathleen Flinn's tale of chasing her ultimate dream makes for a really lovely book-engaging, intelligent and surprisingly suspenseful. (Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love)
Michael Ruhlman
An engaging story about a fantasy fulfilled. It's Under the Tuscan Sun goes to cooking school. (Michael Ruhlman, author of The Elements of Cooking and The Soul of a Chef)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Flinn has been a writer and journalist for nearly twenty years. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, USA Weekend, Men’s Fitness and many other publications. She is a proud member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the Author’s Guild. She divides her time between Seattle and southwest Florida.

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The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World's Most Famous Cooking School 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
gerberagirl76 More than 1 year ago
The author closes her book with this line and it's true, and a lesson she learned along the way. Her story is one I can relate to since I went back to culinary school a few years after being out of college and found I hated being stuck behind a desk all day. The book is just a fun read about love, finding yourself and achieving your dream. It is hard working in a professional kitchen, as she learned it school, but it certainly is rewarding. Great recipes too!
Atthebeach More than 1 year ago
So far, besides me, my husband, our 20-something daughter, and one of my husband's male buddies have read this book, and we ALL loved it! I should note first that we all love to cook complex recipes and eat fabulous food. And, because of that, it may be that we all loved the book for it's lessons on better cooking steps, intriguing preparations and great recipes. (We highly recommend that readers read the recipes completely as they appear in the book---don't leave them until the end. They help you understand what is happening in the cooking classes as you go along.) The story about a 30-something business woman chucking it all to go to school at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris is a tantalizing fantasy for anyone who loves to cook. We're all jealous! But her telling of the story is more than just a recount of her experiences at the school. It's about changing, learning, growing, accepting and embracing life---and all while describing the making and devouring of delicious foods! There's a very sweet love story, tales of friendship, competition among students, mean and harassing instructor/chefs, fear of failure, and achieving success all wrapped up in the writer's lively telling of her diversion from 'real life' into her life's fantasy. We have decided that this book will not reside in our library, but will stand on our kitchen cookbook shelf so we can pull it out often to try the many incredible-sounding recipes found within. What a yummy little book this is!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It is a quick and easy read. It describes her struggles and joys while attending the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. I would recommend this book if you love reading about Paris and cooking.
ClassicOne More than 1 year ago
I loved the telling of this culinary experience at Le Cordon Bleu. It was funny, romantic, enlightening, and I love having some of the recipes included. I love Paris, and this is a great way to "take yourself there," especially if you like to cook. Enjoyable to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a chef, graduate of a Le Cordon Bleu school in America. I was given a copy of this book a few years ago by an employee who worked under me. I laughed and cried and sighed my way through this book. It brought back a lot of memories. In looking at the dates, we were in school about the same time. I'm now getting a copy for a niece who is in culinary school realizing her dreams. I thought about sending her my worn out falling apart book but can't bear to part with it!
tarheelreaderbl More than 1 year ago
A great read and a great lesson about pursuing your passions in life. I am a foodie and love to cook, but I'm pretty sure Le Cordon Bleu is way beyond me!! Kudos to Kathleen Flinn for following her dream and sticking with it. She's an excellent storyteller who has woven a wonderful tale of love, adventure, laughter, and tears. Have recommended it to all my "reader friends!"
Brian_A More than 1 year ago
A great book for anyone who has ever considered attending the famous Cordon Bleau cooking school in Paris. The book is well written and enjoyable to read.
manicreader More than 1 year ago
This book is great for anyone who has a passion for cooking or just a passion that they have yet to pursue. It is filled with recipes and culinary information. It also tells a sweet love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent and absorbing book, expecially for a self taught gourmet cook with aspirations to learn more. It was also poignant, funny, and entertaining at different moments. I have given several copies to friends already. I highly recommend it.
anna_g More than 1 year ago
This book is one my favorites from the past couple of years. I have now read it twice. The story starts when the author came back from vacation to find that she had lost her job -- one that she was unhappy in but could not find the resolve the quit. Almost on a whim, she cashes in her savings to attend Le Cordon Bleu, the famous culinary school in Paris. Her new boyfriend quits his job in Seattle to go with her and the result is a romantic, inspirational story about what can happen when you follow your passions.

The author is a great storyteller and draws a reader into her daily life in Paris, the difficulties and the joy of studying French cuisine at a high level and the many intriging characters that she meets along the way. She also weaves in about three dozen recipes, mostly French. In the paperback, she has a menu guide for book clubs. My book club read this title in October and the guide was very useful.

I have given this book to several people, and they have all loved it. It's sort of got it all -- Paris, food, love -- but at the heart of the story is the issue of what's important in life, and how we all keep thinking that we'll do something "one day." It's truly inspirational.

I read recently that it is being turned into a movie. when you read it, you'll see why.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An adventure in culinary training and life in Paris, with recipes.
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