Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch

Celadon. Apr. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781250312341. $28. COOKING / Memoir
French, owner of the highly regarded Lost Kitchen Restaurant in a small Maine town called Freedom, candidly writes about becoming a successful chef and mother. The author takes us out of the kitchen to draw a picture of her growth and evolution into a personally and professionally successful woman in small-town New England. French’s life is not all smooth sailing; a childhood of searching for parental approval while helping out in the family diner takes a sharp turn when French finds herself pregnant as a young woman. The next several years are punctuated by both successes and failures, culminating in a challenging struggle with addiction and overcoming the effects of a toxic marriage. The writing is frank and, particularly when related to her struggle to regain custody of her son, heart-wrenching. The redemptive arc of the final chapters is satisfying and will leave readers wanting to know more about the author’s life and the band of restaurant workers she has brought together.
VERDICT Openly sharing insight on overcoming difficult family dynamics and on struggling with addiction, French has written a standout chef memoir that will have readers turning the pages.
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