The chefs, the food and Adrienne

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‘The ‘New Cuisine’

Adrienne Zausner was a successful business woman who had an unbounded passion for exceptional food – food that tasted great no matter where it came from.  To understand the essence of food and how to cook it became one of her life’s goals.

She began travelling to Europe with her husband in 1960. The term ‘foodie’ had not yet been coined but Adrienne was certainly one of the first. Her pursuit of great food – in restaurants and at home – led her to develop a wide network of chefs, restaurateurs, critics and writers. Adrienne’s inner circle included Michelin three-starred chefs Gérard Boyer, Alain Chapel, Michel Guérard, Frédy Girardet, Jean and Pierre Troisgros (and later Michel), Roger Vergé and Pierre Wynants; the late restaurateur M. Vrinat of Taillevent, restaurant critic Craig Claiborne and food writer, critic and personal friend, Gael Greene.

Many of the chefs were in the throes of developing a ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’ which revolutionized restaurant cooking during the Sixties and Seventies.   In later years the term was hijacked to represent small servings with a multitude of decoration which had no relationship to the food.  This was far from the founding chefs cuisine.

During the early days of the ‘new’ Cuisine Adrienne was honing her palate in their restaurants and learning how to reproduce their food in her kitchen. All the while working as a successful investment portfolio manager for a large bank in NYC.  She took cooking lessons in Paris with Simone Beck, co-author, with Julia Child, of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and they became fast friends.

I was lucky enough to be on part of her journey.  Adrienne and I began travelling together in 1990.  Over the next two decades we became BFFs – Best Foodie Friends – dedicated to growing, cooking and eating the best food possible.

We were an unlikely culinary duo.  She was a smart, sexy Elizabeth Taylor look-alike who flirted her way into the inner circle of the great French chefs to become an accomplished cook on her own.  I was a small town girl with limited exposure to haute cuisine. But we bonded over good food and never looked back.

The book Cooking with Adrienne is the biographical journey of one exceptional woman’s passion for food.  The book offers techniques and step-by-step guides that demonstrate that all food is good food if prepared properly.  The anthology of recipes reflect Adrienne’s journey from discovering and creating French cuisine dishes, to exploring all cuisines, with the love and understanding that makes great food exceptional.

Adrienne now has a form of Frontotemporal Degeneration dementia called Primary Progressive Aphasia which has destroyed her ability to speak.  She can no longer cook a meal.  But she still enjoys eating and never hesitates to offer criticism or praise with a wink or a frown.  A portion of the profits from the sale of my book ‘Cooking with Adrienne, A Story of Friendship and Food‘, will be donated to finding a cure.  Find out more here.