The French Ingredient: Making a Life in Paris One Lesson at a Time; A Memoir by Jane Bertch

Book 24/52

The story of a young female entrepreneur building a life in a city and culture she grew to love.

Dear Fellow Reader,

Thank you so much for your continued support and for investing your time in reading my newsletter. Your readership means a lot to me!

The French Ingredient: Making a Life in Paris One Lesson at a Time: A Memoir by Jane Bertch came at the perfect time. I was looking for some inspiring memoir writing because I am one hundred and ten days into my first manuscript and am currently at a plateau. I have reached 65,000 words and feel I am talking into the void.

But after listening to Jane’s interview on the Women Who Travel podcast, I instantly fell in love with her story of being an American who opened a French cooking school.

There is just something about her writing that pulled me on the first page. Though I have no plans of opening a French cooking school for travelers, I never say never, especially with my ADHD; I needed an optimistic travel story of persistence while dealing with the German summer rain.

Jane was a Chicagoan who became a banker in London after finishing college and then, a few years later, had the offer to transfer to Paris. Then, after losing three people she held so dear, she realized that her job wasn’t a passion but a way to afford her dream lifestyle in Paris.

So, after some planning and realizing that life is too short, she decided to leave her banking career and begin a new path as an entrepreneur, opening a French cooking school. The only problem was that she wasn’t a chef, and a year into running the business, she was kicked out of their building because of French bureaucracy.

But this didn’t stop Jane; my favorite part is that she didn’t give up and brought us along for the journey.

I absolutely loved this book! 

As a traveler and lover of travel memoirs, I enjoyed everything about this book, from Jane’s writing style to her ambitious girl-boss attitude. Living in a foreign country is so complex, but something magical happens when you decide to stay and make that place your home. Jane captured that experience perfectly, in my opinion.

Though my partner doesn’t enjoy Paris or cooking much, I think it would be the perfect girls’ trip to head to Paris for a few days and take a cooking close at La Cuisine Paris.

If you love Paris and cooking, this is the book for you!

Thank you for reading!

Tell me, Reader, what are you reading this week? Have you read The French Ingredient? What did you think? Comment below!



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  1. Jane
    July 9, 2024 / 5:18 am

    I am just so very touched! Thank you Courtney for not only taking the time to read the book but for sharing it in such a beautiful way. You have gone right to the core of what I hoped the book would share with each reader (beyond the Paris story): that anything is possible. It’s a story we all share in some way – I just happened to pen it. If there was anything in those pages that inspired you, I can only but share my favorite quote: Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you, Carlos Ruiz Zafón.

    • July 10, 2024 / 10:36 am

      Thank you, Jane, for your inspiring words and for making the time to leave a comment! It was a fantastic book; I hope others find as much joy and inspiration as I did while reading it. Hopefully, I’ll see you in Paris next year at La Cuisine Paris! 🙂

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