Dinner Chez Moi is more intimate than your other books. Why is that?
I’d had a tough three years when I started writing it. I’d just moved from France (where I lived for 10 years) to Toronto, where I knew no one. I was lost at sea and these recipes were my raft: chicken pot pie, Spanish tortilla, fish chowder. My cooking became completely solid and stable. It’s amazing how much food is a reflection of where you are in your life.
Have you ever had any kitchen disasters?
I’m constantly testing recipes and feeding people awful things! I used to think I had to be perfect because I had a cooking show and everyone would say, “I love how you make everything look easy.” I’d tell them it is TV that makes it look easy. People want to hear about the chips in the china. That’s why I say a fallen soufflé can do great things for your social life. When you serve food casually, everyone just relaxes.
What’s your restaurant pet peeve?
I want food to be honest. I hate menus where a dish is a list of 10 ingredients. If I see “carrots” I am ordering it because I think it has carrots in it. So if it comes with a little squirt of carrot juice, I feel ripped off.
Why do you love eating at home?
There’s something about sitting around a table and sharing with your community. It’s primitive. I can’t think of anything more bonding. Except sex, maybe.
Recipes to Riches is now airing on the Food Network.