counter create hit Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

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

Availability: Ready to download

From Erin French, owner and chef of the critically acclaimed The Lost Kitchen, a TIME world dining destination, a life-affirming memoir about survival, renewal, and finding a community to lift her up Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination with every seating filled the day the reservation book opens each spring, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot From Erin French, owner and chef of the critically acclaimed The Lost Kitchen, a TIME world dining destination, a life-affirming memoir about survival, renewal, and finding a community to lift her up Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination with every seating filled the day the reservation book opens each spring, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot on a 25-acre farm, a teenager falling in love with food while working the line at her dad's diner and a young woman finding her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th century mill. This singular memoir--a classic American story--invites readers to Erin's corner of her beloved Maine to share the real person behind the "girl from Freedom" fairytale, and the not-so-picture-perfect struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and that make Erin's life triumphant. In Finding Freedom, Erin opens up to the challenges, stumbles, and victories that have led her to the exact place she was ever meant to be, telling stories of multiple rock-bottoms, of darkness and anxiety, of survival as a jobless single mother, of pills that promised release but delivered addiction, of a man who seemed to offer salvation but in the end ripped away her very sense of self. And of the beautiful son who was her guiding light as she slowly rebuilt her personal and culinary life around the solace she found in food--as a source of comfort, a sense of place, as a way of bringing goodness into the world. Erin's experiences with deep loss and abiding hope, told with both honesty and humor, will resonate with women everywhere who are determined to find their voices, create community, grow stronger and discover their best-selves despite seemingly impossible odds. Set against the backdrop of rural Maine and its lushly intense, bountiful seasons, Erin reveals the passion and courage needed to invent oneself anew, and the poignant, timeless connections between food and generosity, renewal and freedom.


Compare

From Erin French, owner and chef of the critically acclaimed The Lost Kitchen, a TIME world dining destination, a life-affirming memoir about survival, renewal, and finding a community to lift her up Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination with every seating filled the day the reservation book opens each spring, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot From Erin French, owner and chef of the critically acclaimed The Lost Kitchen, a TIME world dining destination, a life-affirming memoir about survival, renewal, and finding a community to lift her up Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination with every seating filled the day the reservation book opens each spring, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot on a 25-acre farm, a teenager falling in love with food while working the line at her dad's diner and a young woman finding her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th century mill. This singular memoir--a classic American story--invites readers to Erin's corner of her beloved Maine to share the real person behind the "girl from Freedom" fairytale, and the not-so-picture-perfect struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and that make Erin's life triumphant. In Finding Freedom, Erin opens up to the challenges, stumbles, and victories that have led her to the exact place she was ever meant to be, telling stories of multiple rock-bottoms, of darkness and anxiety, of survival as a jobless single mother, of pills that promised release but delivered addiction, of a man who seemed to offer salvation but in the end ripped away her very sense of self. And of the beautiful son who was her guiding light as she slowly rebuilt her personal and culinary life around the solace she found in food--as a source of comfort, a sense of place, as a way of bringing goodness into the world. Erin's experiences with deep loss and abiding hope, told with both honesty and humor, will resonate with women everywhere who are determined to find their voices, create community, grow stronger and discover their best-selves despite seemingly impossible odds. Set against the backdrop of rural Maine and its lushly intense, bountiful seasons, Erin reveals the passion and courage needed to invent oneself anew, and the poignant, timeless connections between food and generosity, renewal and freedom.

30 review for Finding Freedom: A Cook's Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch

  1. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a life from Scratch by Erin French is a 2021 Celadon Books publication. An inspiring story of success! In this memoir, Erin French shares her life journey in an honest, emotionally raw voice. Her upbringing, her family dynamics, her first marriage, her lonely and extremely difficult battle with depression and substance abuse, hitting rock bottom and clawing her way back up to become a successful restaurant owner is often harrowing to read about, but rewa Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a life from Scratch by Erin French is a 2021 Celadon Books publication. An inspiring story of success! In this memoir, Erin French shares her life journey in an honest, emotionally raw voice. Her upbringing, her family dynamics, her first marriage, her lonely and extremely difficult battle with depression and substance abuse, hitting rock bottom and clawing her way back up to become a successful restaurant owner is often harrowing to read about, but rewarding in the end. The Lost Kitchen is located in Freedom, Maine, which makes the title of the book a nice play on words. Freedom is a tiny little town, but the restaurant is known as a ‘dining destination’. Erin, and her restaurant, have been noticed and featured in the NYT and Martha Stewart Living, and Erin has shared her story on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and more. Her journey to this point has been fraught with many roadblocks, mistakes, and challenges, but Erin dug deep to find the tenacity to turn her life around and the courage to grab her dream and make it come true. Anytime I see someone work their up from rock bottom, having lost virtually everything, to reclaim their lives again, I find much hope and inspiration in their determination to fight back. From a personal standpoint, Erin didn’t exactly make a good first impression. She got off on my bad side almost immediately by offending my religious beliefs. Although I bristled, I was able to shake it off and read the book with an open mind and by using my critical thinking cap. I am glad I stayed with the book. Erin's battles with depression is especially grim, and her pain, literally jumps off the page. My heart went out to her, but I was also impressed by her strength and her love for her son, which inspired her fight to win. It is good to see someone pull themselves back from the brink to find professional victory, and personal stability as well. I’m happy Erin's talents are being recognized and sincerely hope she continues to enjoy much success and prosperity. While I live a long way from Maine, I'll keep an eye out for more great reviews and features about Erin and her The Lost Kitchen. 4 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    I love reading nonfiction but I love food even more. Not a big surprise I enjoyed this memoir written by a woman who has spent much of her life working in the food industry. As she writes about her life full of ups and downs, she also gives a ton of yummy food descriptions. A worthwhile read especially if you have a passion for food. Erin French grew up in a small town in Maine and started working at her father's diner at a young age. Many, many years later she experienced tremendous success open I love reading nonfiction but I love food even more. Not a big surprise I enjoyed this memoir written by a woman who has spent much of her life working in the food industry. As she writes about her life full of ups and downs, she also gives a ton of yummy food descriptions. A worthwhile read especially if you have a passion for food. Erin French grew up in a small town in Maine and started working at her father's diner at a young age. Many, many years later she experienced tremendous success opening a restaurant that attracted customers from around the globe. So how did she get to that point? Well, read the book. She's been on an incredible journey full of times that were rough to put it mildly. One of the things I liked reading about was Erin's farm to table approach to cooking. It's obvious she has a deep appreciation for ingredients some might call basic or simple but can be absolutely delicious. Give the girl a good tomato and she'll be quite content. I love to eat and some of my best vacation memories involve eating fantastic food at restaurants. If I ever find myself in Maine and am lucky enough to snag a reservation, I am going to eat at her restaurant for sure. If you enjoy reading memoirs about someone overcoming adversity, give this book a look. Thank you to Celadon Books for providing me with an advance copy. All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bkwmlee

    4.5 stars I’m no food connoisseur, but I love to eat and I also enjoy reading about food, so chef Erin French’s new memoir Finding Freedom is technically right up my alley. French fell in love with food while working the line at her dad’s diner as a teenager and later on, as a young adult, maintained a close connection with food through her subsequent gigs as a waitress, bartender, caterer, and sales clerk at a kitchen supply shop. Unlike most chefs, French never received any type of formal t 4.5 stars I’m no food connoisseur, but I love to eat and I also enjoy reading about food, so chef Erin French’s new memoir Finding Freedom is technically right up my alley. French fell in love with food while working the line at her dad’s diner as a teenager and later on, as a young adult, maintained a close connection with food through her subsequent gigs as a waitress, bartender, caterer, and sales clerk at a kitchen supply shop. Unlike most chefs, French never received any type of formal training – she never went to culinary school and much of what she knows about cooking was self-taught through trial and error in the kitchen (and she has the scars on her arms to prove it) – yet through hard work and perseverance, she was able to turn her passion for food and natural ingredients (from growing up on her parent’s farm) into a successful career. French is the owner of The Lost Kitchen -- a small restaurant tucked into a repurposed 19th century mill in the little town of Freedom, Maine (population less than 1000). In the open kitchen of her award-winning restaurant (which is also world-renown), French cooks to a constantly packed crowd, with bookings for the 40-seat dining room usually sold out months in advance. French’s restaurant specializes in “farm-to-table” cooking where she plans her menus daily around the freshest ingredients she is able to obtain each day – majority of her nearly all-female staff are farmers who tend to their own farms by day and work at the restaurant by night, oftentimes bringing with them to their shifts the ingredients that would be used in the day’s dishes (i.e. ripe tomatoes newly picked that morning, eggs laid that day by farm-raised chickens, etc.). Behind French’s success though, is a harrowing personal story of survival – a journey fraught with pain and turmoil, and enough emotional ups-and-downs to last her several lifetimes. In her memoir, French writes candidly, honestly, and succinctly about her various struggles -- from growing up in a dysfunctional household with an emotionally absent father, an obedient-to-a-fault mother, and an estranged younger sister who loathed her, to getting pregnant at 21, dropping out of college, and subsequently becoming a jobless single mother who eventually moves back in with her parents, then later marrying a man 20 years her senior who turned out to be a scumbag, manipulative monster. She also lays bare her struggles with depression, suicide, self-loathing, an addiction to prescription drugs that spiraled out of control, and the moment she hit rock bottom after being committed to a psychiatric ward and subsequently forced into rehab, losing everything – her home, her restaurant, her marriage, and most painful of all, her beloved child – in the process. Broken, beaten, penniless, with all sense of dignity and self-worth shattered beyond repair, it takes all of French’s strength – physically, mentally, emotionally – to claw her way back from the precipice and rebuild her life from scratch. French’s story is poignant and heartbreaking, yet also hopeful and inspiring. There were moments that made me cry, moments that made me smile, and of course, moments that made me seethe with anger. French writes with raw honesty and sincerity about her life that is rare and absolutely admirable. She does not shy away from recounting her own flaws, nor does she deny her own role in making a mess of her life (for example – deliberately ignoring all the red flags and warning signs about her ex-husband Tom and the kind of person he was), which I definitely appreciated. Prior to reading this book, I actually had never heard of The Lost Kitchen, but afterward, I found myself wanting to learn more about this little restaurant “in the middle of nowhere” and the tenacious woman who overcame the odds and poured her heart and soul into creating it. This is a memoir that I’m glad I read and that I absolutely recommend. Unlike some other food memoirs I’ve read, I like the fact that this one achieves a good balance between recounting the details of the author’s story and describing the various food-related elements such as the dishes that the author cooked and how she sourced her ingredients, etc. There have been times when I would read a food memoir and the descriptions of the food would consist of various fancy words that usually went way over my head -- French’s memoir is different in that it’s very down-to-earth and the food descriptions are ones I am able to relate to. This book actually doesn’t come out until April, but if you love food memoirs like I do, I would recommend picking this one up sooner rather than later! Received paper ARC from Celadon as part of Early Reader program.>

  4. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    **Many thanks to @CeladonBooks and Erin French for an ARC of this book!** A moving and inspiring journey, away from home and back again, with a tinge of rustic charm! Erin French is currently the owner and operator of the Lost Kitchen, an incredibly successful restaurant which imbues all of the quality of fine dining in a down-home country setting: a renovated old mill with the lovely sounds of a rushing waterfall in the background. Reservations are SO hard to come by, in fact, that French had to **Many thanks to @CeladonBooks and Erin French for an ARC of this book!** A moving and inspiring journey, away from home and back again, with a tinge of rustic charm! Erin French is currently the owner and operator of the Lost Kitchen, an incredibly successful restaurant which imbues all of the quality of fine dining in a down-home country setting: a renovated old mill with the lovely sounds of a rushing waterfall in the background. Reservations are SO hard to come by, in fact, that French had to leave them to chance and random draw rather than utilize an online system...since a prior attempt to use a similar system was SO successful that it actually crashed the computer servers! Far from this bountiful success, though, Erin's life as a young girl growing up in the tiny town of Freedom was shaped by the sky high expectations of her parents, living in her sister's shadow, and her father's cold and absent demeanor, further exacerbated by his struggles with alcohol. The one exception to this distance between father and daughter came in the form of food, as Erin's father begrudgingly incorporated his daughter into the family diner. From here, Erin takes us through changing expectations, an unplanned pregnancy, and a whirlwind and tumultuous marriage, and even takes the reader through a harrowing journey with addiction and her time in a facility, reminiscent of Girl, Interrupted. At the brink of self-destruction and with limited options, Erin's journey eventually takes her back towards her own liberation, fittingly---right back where she started---in the town of Freedom. Though I am far from a foodie and was not familiar with Erin French or her restaurant prior to reading, this memoir was captivating from the page one. French's use of language is as thoughtful, delicate, and artful as her culinary creations themselves. Her passion for food simmers from the page, and at times I could almost hear the pots and pans whistling and clanging behind me. Not only does Erin imbue her passion for food throughout the pages, she also explores the concept of personal freedom--freedom from the expectations of others, and the chains we assign ourselves through the burdens we bear, and how good it feels to shrug them off and live life fearlessly, arm in arm with family and the friends who have become family. I have certainly added The Lost Kitchen to my restaurant bucket list after reading this wonderful memoir, and applaud Erin French for her courage, resilience, and creativity. Be sure you pick up this memoir---and although it goes ENTIRELY without saying, do NOT read on an empty stomach! #FindingFreedomMemoir #CeladonReads #partner

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    This is an interesting and inspiring memoir about a woman who lost everything and clawed her way back to health and success. I'm a huge fan of foodie books, and this one definitely has that--Erin started working in the diner her father owned from a young age, where she learned to work the food line and how to make various food items. She eventually started a supper club out of her house, which turned into a restaurant venture, but when her life hit rock bottom she lost it all and had to reinvent This is an interesting and inspiring memoir about a woman who lost everything and clawed her way back to health and success. I'm a huge fan of foodie books, and this one definitely has that--Erin started working in the diner her father owned from a young age, where she learned to work the food line and how to make various food items. She eventually started a supper club out of her house, which turned into a restaurant venture, but when her life hit rock bottom she lost it all and had to reinvent herself and her success. Much of her story is heartbreaking--from an unplanned pregnancy to a terrible marriage to drug addiction, Erin had many things stacked against her in the path to success. However, with the help of her amazing mother, some fantastic friends, and some serious professional help, she was able to create the restaurant in her Maine hometown called The Lost Kitchen. This was a very quick read for me, because I became very invested in the outcome and hoped that she would come out on top. Her vulnerability while telling her story shines from each page. This couldn't have been an easy book to write, to leave herself on the page and admit to her failures, yet her communication style is straightforward and she doesn't make excuses for her choices. The descriptions of her various food creations are vivid and sound delectable. She cooks in a way that appeals to me--simplicity with extravagance, and I would love to go there and try some of her dishes. I thank Celadon for sending me an advance copy of this book. I voluntarily reviewed it and all opinions are my own. #celadonreads

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Rochester

    Thank you to Celadon for surprising me with another book in the mail. I love surprises, especially when they are books. :) This was not my favorite book from them so far but I found it a very interesting read. And I think I just did not connect with anyone or anything I was reading about so it could totally be me that was off. We meet Erin when she is a young girl and we also meet her family...they play a big role in who she is and how she thinks of herself as she grows up. We learn that pretty Thank you to Celadon for surprising me with another book in the mail. I love surprises, especially when they are books. :) This was not my favorite book from them so far but I found it a very interesting read. And I think I just did not connect with anyone or anything I was reading about so it could totally be me that was off. We meet Erin when she is a young girl and we also meet her family...they play a big role in who she is and how she thinks of herself as she grows up. We learn that pretty much her whole life revolved around food in one way or another. As a child, her dad bought the diner that took so much of his time and eventually hers as she ends up working in the diner as well. She did get away for a short time as she tried to go to school and leave Freedom and her dysfunctional family behind but things didn't work out the way she intended and she came home with more than the attitude she left with. Now she is raising a small boy on her own, which can be scary enough,when she meets the guy she eventually marries. Shocker, things don't work out so well here either...but we learn just how much she is willing to fight to have the life she wants. I'm just going to throw this out there...there is a scene involving chickens where I was just like "What in the actual f**k am I reading right now? I had to skip past it because it was sickening to me...other than that, the book was good for me. :)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader

    A memoir with so much heart and a little bit of grit. You can not stop reading it. The food descriptions were something to savor. I could not read this just once. I read it twice. The hardship and the overcoming is something else to read about. I have so much respect for French after spending an afternoon in her memoir. I can't recommend this enough. 5 stars and please grab a copy. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views ex A memoir with so much heart and a little bit of grit. You can not stop reading it. The food descriptions were something to savor. I could not read this just once. I read it twice. The hardship and the overcoming is something else to read about. I have so much respect for French after spending an afternoon in her memoir. I can't recommend this enough. 5 stars and please grab a copy. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stewart Tame

    Full disclosure: I received a free ARC of this book from Celadon in exchange for an honest review. #FindingFreedomMemoir #CeladonReads #partner @CeladonBooks As a lifelong reader, it's always a joy when an unexpected book shows up on my doorstep. I never know in advance what I’ll be getting, but I’ve grown to trust the taste of whomever it is at Celadon that sends these out. They haven't steered me wrong yet. I had never heard of Erin French or The Lost Kitchen before, but I definitely love readin Full disclosure: I received a free ARC of this book from Celadon in exchange for an honest review. #FindingFreedomMemoir #CeladonReads #partner @CeladonBooks As a lifelong reader, it's always a joy when an unexpected book shows up on my doorstep. I never know in advance what I’ll be getting, but I’ve grown to trust the taste of whomever it is at Celadon that sends these out. They haven't steered me wrong yet. I had never heard of Erin French or The Lost Kitchen before, but I definitely love reading about (and eating, of course) good food. Cooking memoirs are always a good time. Although French has had no formal chef training, her restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, in rural Maine has become a foodie destination, every seating filling the day the reservation book opens each spring. Finding Freedom is the story of how she got to this point (hint: it wasn't easy. Or linear, really.) I found the book captivating, often reading “just one more chapter before I go to bed.” Which, as readers know, is code for “at least six, possibly the rest of the book … do I *really* need sleep?” I don't think it's spoiling anything to say that there are some harrowing moments. Her descriptions are vivid and rich with emotion. This is good if you're reading about food, but perhaps not necessarily so much if you're reading about painful experiences. I don't mean that in a bad way, of course. Part of what makes for a good memoir is to help the reader feel what you felt. The only one who's truly capable of judging whether or not she's done that is Erin French herself, but for what an outsider’s opinion is worth, I think she's done a marvelous job. I’m definitely intrigued about the restaurant too, though I'm not sure how likely a trip to Maine is anytime soon. All in all, I enjoyed this book very much. Highly recommended!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Wendy G

    I received this galley from Celadon Books and my first thoughts were, oh boy, I'm not a foodie, how am I going to get through this and read about recipes and food for almost 300 pages? Well, I was so wrong and devoured (pun intended) this book. From the beginning, I found myself really liking Erin. She is brave, strong, vulnerable, humble, and really raw at times with her honest portrayal of her life, the successes and the devastating blows. I can't help but admire her strength and tenacity and I received this galley from Celadon Books and my first thoughts were, oh boy, I'm not a foodie, how am I going to get through this and read about recipes and food for almost 300 pages? Well, I was so wrong and devoured (pun intended) this book. From the beginning, I found myself really liking Erin. She is brave, strong, vulnerable, humble, and really raw at times with her honest portrayal of her life, the successes and the devastating blows. I can't help but admire her strength and tenacity and hope to find myself in Freedom, Maine, dining at The Lost Kitchen and a chance to tell Erin in person what a wonderful friend, daughter, mother, and inspiration she is! #findingfreedommemoir #CeladonReads @CeladonBooks

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Not knowing of Erin French before this memoir, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I found was the inspiring story of a chef who overcame a lot to find success doing what she loved. French very candidly discussed being a young mother and struggling, with her mental health, with addiction, with an abusive partner and with suicidal ideation. I loved her descriptions of food and how cooking and creating helped her find her path. If you’re a foodie or mental health advocate, I would recommend checking Not knowing of Erin French before this memoir, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I found was the inspiring story of a chef who overcame a lot to find success doing what she loved. French very candidly discussed being a young mother and struggling, with her mental health, with addiction, with an abusive partner and with suicidal ideation. I loved her descriptions of food and how cooking and creating helped her find her path. If you’re a foodie or mental health advocate, I would recommend checking out French’s story. I received a gifted copy in exchange for my review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Keisha (keisha_reads)

    DO NOT READ THIS BOOK ON AN EMPTY STOMACH: The food descriptions are divine and you will be hungry! ••••••••••••••••••••••••• In Finding Freedom Erin French shares her story with in an artworhy, honest and emotional form. I don’t think it’s any surprise that the foodie in me enjoyed this book. The tales of Erin cooking and bringing recipes to life were incredible. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Even though this book is just a small part of Erins life story, you get a lot & wow did she go throu DO NOT READ THIS BOOK ON AN EMPTY STOMACH: The food descriptions are divine and you will be hungry! ••••••••••••••••••••••••• In Finding Freedom Erin French shares her story with in an artworhy, honest and emotional form. I don’t think it’s any surprise that the foodie in me enjoyed this book. The tales of Erin cooking and bringing recipes to life were incredible. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Even though this book is just a small part of Erins life story, you get a lot & wow did she go through it! From finding love to losing love, losing family, battling addiction and finding her love of food and bringing her dreams to life, there are so many raw and emotional moments in this book of her life journey, that I enjoyed reading about. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• & now if only C O V I D didn’t exist so I could travel to Maine and eat at The Lost Kitchen for real! ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Pick up your copy of FINDING FREEDOM on PUB DAY 04/06/2021

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lain | onceuponanattorney

    5 ⭐️ for Finding Freedom by Erin French Thank you @celadonbooks for this advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review! Pages: 289 Genre: memoir Pace: steady Themes: learning to stand on your own, getting rid of toxic relationships, overcoming addiction, having a supportive community, going back to your roots My thoughts: It was an empowering story, and I loved it. Food is so personal, and so much of the craft is wrapped up in the chef’s backstory. Erin’s food is no different, and this memoir 5 ⭐️ for Finding Freedom by Erin French Thank you @celadonbooks for this advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review! Pages: 289 Genre: memoir Pace: steady Themes: learning to stand on your own, getting rid of toxic relationships, overcoming addiction, having a supportive community, going back to your roots My thoughts: It was an empowering story, and I loved it. Food is so personal, and so much of the craft is wrapped up in the chef’s backstory. Erin’s food is no different, and this memoir shows you how her past really inspired her restaurant and her cooking. Watching her evolve and be comfortable with herself and her roots was really inspiring. I found Erin’s writing to be so beautiful and her personality to be so relatable. Her descriptions were also just so on point—I could see the settings and food she was describing with such clarity. And to that end, don’t read this one hungry (you’ll be drooling). Overall, I’m so glad I got to read this one, and I hope to one day get served a plate of love from this very accomplished Chef! Who should read: Top Chef fans, foodies, fans of memoirs from powerful women who had to overcome toxic relationships

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Fleischer

    Finding Freedom is a memoir dedicated to Erin French’s relationship with food...and how it got her through the best and worst times of her life. Raised in rural Maine, in the kitchen of a diner, Erin grew up knowing food. She fell in love with the emotional experience a meal can bring. Reminders of home, nostalgic thoughts of family members lost long ago. But these discoveries were made through her own sacrifices, rock bottoms, and uphill climbs. Not only is Erin’s story real, raw, and heartbrea Finding Freedom is a memoir dedicated to Erin French’s relationship with food...and how it got her through the best and worst times of her life. Raised in rural Maine, in the kitchen of a diner, Erin grew up knowing food. She fell in love with the emotional experience a meal can bring. Reminders of home, nostalgic thoughts of family members lost long ago. But these discoveries were made through her own sacrifices, rock bottoms, and uphill climbs. Not only is Erin’s story real, raw, and heartbreaking, but her writing is beautiful. I have never been to rural New England (thanks covid for quashing our plans to go to Acadia), but I feel like I have based on the imagery presented in these pages. Erin’s description of the setting, landmarks, and people around her being everything to life. And when she describes her food...well, just make sure you have some tissues nearby to wipe up your salivation. As a lover of memoirs and people’s stories, I was excited to receive this ARC. But Erin takes food, family, and emotions to another level in Finding Freedom.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kate TerHaar

    I remember seeing a segment about The Lost Kitchen on CBS Sunday Morning a year or two ago and was fascinated by the concept and its popularity. Enter "Finding Freedom" Erin French's memoir that tells the story not only of the restaurant, but of the real life world of Erin, the talent behind the restaurant. From working the breakfast line in the family diner as a child, raising a child, addiction and toxic relationships, Erin finds creating good food is the glue that keep her going and gives her I remember seeing a segment about The Lost Kitchen on CBS Sunday Morning a year or two ago and was fascinated by the concept and its popularity. Enter "Finding Freedom" Erin French's memoir that tells the story not only of the restaurant, but of the real life world of Erin, the talent behind the restaurant. From working the breakfast line in the family diner as a child, raising a child, addiction and toxic relationships, Erin finds creating good food is the glue that keep her going and gives her hope. Food is a way to demonstrate love. So happy to have found this book and learn more about this inspiring and courageous woman. After reading this I added an item to my bucket list-have a meal a The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine Thank you to Net Galley and Celadon Books for the opportunity to read this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Barbara (The Bibliophage)

    Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com. Erin French details how she reached success in her upcoming memoir Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch. (Available early April 2021.) It’s not a straight A to Z path, but one that goes backwards, forwards, and even sideways. Of course, everyone’s definition of success is also different. Many cooks or chefs would define success as working in a high-end kitchen under a renowned chef. Or owning their own restaurant i Originally published on my book blog, TheBibliophage.com. Erin French details how she reached success in her upcoming memoir Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch. (Available early April 2021.) It’s not a straight A to Z path, but one that goes backwards, forwards, and even sideways. Of course, everyone’s definition of success is also different. Many cooks or chefs would define success as working in a high-end kitchen under a renowned chef. Or owning their own restaurant in a major metro area, with reservations booked months in advance. Maybe even celebrity status. French chooses none of these options, yet her life and career do indeed come around to happiness and resounding success. French is the older of two daughters, born to a special ed teacher and the owner of a small-town Maine diner. Her mom is generally a doormat, in deference to her husband’s strong personality and behaviors of addiction. Erin inherits a portion of her personality from each. She doubts herself and ends up the doormat in her own marriage. Alongside these qualities, she has inner strength to succeed despite her missteps. And in the process, she also struggles with her own addictions. All French wants to do as a teen is escape the diner’s kitchen, attend college in Boston, and become a physician. But as most adults will tell you, life isn’t often so straightforward. She gets pregnant unexpectedly, keeps the baby, and moves back to her parents’ house. Even though she returns to the familiar, nothing is quite the same. Even as she puts one dream aside, French envisions a stable and satisfying life for herself and her son. It just takes a lot of dance steps. My conclusions What makes Finding Freedom a meaningful memoir is French’s voice, which is honest and self-effacing. Her truths and experiences are well told. But many parts of the story were painful to read because I wanted life to be easier for her. One thing that elevates the story is her off-the-charts mouthwatering descriptions of the food she cooks. French also balances her insecurities with inspirational grit and determination. I know that memoir authors have 20/20 hindsight about their lives and the characters in them. But I was profoundly frustrated by French’s choice in love. For a kid who grew up as she did, she was dangerously naïve about this controlling and abusive man. I did a lot of shouting at the book while reading these passages! As an aside, I want French’s mom to write a memoir next. Even though I refer above to her as a doormat, she undergoes a compelling transformation like her daughter. As a mom, her story inspired me too. She fights alongside French for a new life and steps up to help her daughter raise a child as a single mom. If you like memoirs about overcoming adversity, creating amazing food, or the challenges of single motherhood and entrepreneurship, Finding Freedom is for you. I was captivated and couldn’t put it down. Pair with Hollywood Park for a memoir from another creative soul, this time from a male perspective. Or try Good Boy: My Life in Seven Dogs for a memoir written with a clear voice and unique challenges. Acknowledgements Many thanks to Celadon Books and the author for an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for this honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Finding Freedom is a story about a woman who hits Rock Bottom in every way that possibly. She comes back Scratching and scrambling From the bottom to get back to the top. With everything in her heart she's going to do what she knows she has to do for her and her son. Erin French. This is a story about a Strong woman. Who Does what she has to do. To get her life back. At ten years old, when your your dad. Says no to cats then Proceeds to drown them in Gunny sacks... This was sad for me . Erin's Dad. Finding Freedom is a story about a woman who hits Rock Bottom in every way that possibly. She comes back Scratching and scrambling From the bottom to get back to the top. With everything in her heart she's going to do what she knows she has to do for her and her son. Erin French. This is a story about a Strong woman. Who Does what she has to do. To get her life back. At ten years old, when your your dad. Says no to cats then Proceeds to drown them in Gunny sacks... This was sad for me . Erin's Dad.. was not was favorite. Now Erin Blamed God For This Act. She the child Was asked not to come back to church after Showing the congregation her pink panties at 10 years old.. Growing up in dad's diner learning to cook on the line is where Erin, Got the love of food and cooking. Became the love of her life. But wanted to Go to college saving money for that was what she always wanted to do become a doctor.. her Father never wanted daughters so never put money into help told her she could do it all on our own he wasn't going to help.. He wasn't the loving kind of father he never wanted daughters only sons. Erin Father was a Grumpy mean, man. This is a wonderful Story of Erin French Life a memoir. This is a story I truly enjoyed. Thank you #CeladonReads #findfreedomMemoir

  17. 4 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Triumphant! Tenacious! Vibrant! A force to be reckoned with -Erin French has arrived! She's here to stay -plain and simple-with a 40 seat restaurant in the heart of Maine. So, you might ask what does a air camper, a divorced woman, a determined will, and a survivor's song have in common and you'll find Erin's name on that label. But labels ain't were it's at as we uncover the true self is stronger and more determined when faced with unforeseen obstacles. No matter what life throws your way be it div Triumphant! Tenacious! Vibrant! A force to be reckoned with -Erin French has arrived! She's here to stay -plain and simple-with a 40 seat restaurant in the heart of Maine. So, you might ask what does a air camper, a divorced woman, a determined will, and a survivor's song have in common and you'll find Erin's name on that label. But labels ain't were it's at as we uncover the true self is stronger and more determined when faced with unforeseen obstacles. No matter what life throws your way be it divorce, child custody disputes, parental/childhood upbringings that weren't fulfilling you can always count on one thing- YOURSELF! It's all within you but you need to act, to embrace, to love, and to conquer your own mind before allowing others to steer you wrong. Not everyone wants to see you succeed so in order to be successful you must find your own unique talents, be courageous, and go out on a limb to fulfill your dreams. Erin French and her collective team of women (and one man) showed the grit and dirt that needed to be tilled on her farm and within herself to showcase what you now see before you here. A beautiful story with a heart of gold that enlarges the model of Believing in You. Never say never -my friends as this is clear cut proof that even when faced with mounting hurdles you can jump as high as the sky to overcome. Thank you to Celadon Books for this early ARC in exchange for this honest review. I'm blessed to have received this eye opening novel and shall I ever travel one day I'd be honored to go to The Lost Kitchen. Save my seat! God Bless

  18. 5 out of 5

    kindra | kindrareads

    I had not read a book cover-to-cover in a day in quite sometime, but this memoir hooked me and life provided the pause for me to immerse myself in its pages. Erin’s story, and with it the story of The Lost Kitchen, is uncomfortable, deeply moving, inspiring, and full of growth. It is that of a family gathering around their own, whether blood related or not, to pick up the pieces when life falls apart. The simplicity of French’s beginning and her desire to bring people together and care for them I had not read a book cover-to-cover in a day in quite sometime, but this memoir hooked me and life provided the pause for me to immerse myself in its pages. Erin’s story, and with it the story of The Lost Kitchen, is uncomfortable, deeply moving, inspiring, and full of growth. It is that of a family gathering around their own, whether blood related or not, to pick up the pieces when life falls apart. The simplicity of French’s beginning and her desire to bring people together and care for them around a table shines through in her writing and draws the reader in. The whole book felt like an invitation to dinner. Thanks due to Celadon Books for sending this ARC my way. #FindingFreedomMemoir #CeladonReads @CeladonBooks

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jypsy

    Review soon!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    I might be the only one in this country, or the world, who had never heard of Erin French or The Lost Kitchen before I started reading Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch. So I had no preconceived ideas, no gossip, no details about how things worked out except what was on the book cover. The beginning was very poetic and much more upbeat than I expected. And the writing was excellent, painting vivid word pictures that transported me to the time and place and the tastes. I might be the only one in this country, or the world, who had never heard of Erin French or The Lost Kitchen before I started reading Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch. So I had no preconceived ideas, no gossip, no details about how things worked out except what was on the book cover. The beginning was very poetic and much more upbeat than I expected. And the writing was excellent, painting vivid word pictures that transported me to the time and place and the tastes. But I knew she had hard times coming. Just a few pages in I realized what a truly terrible man her father is, with a cruel mean streak and a disregard for his children. Her mother always supported her and her sister, but her mother didn’t like confrontation. So Erin keeps looking for a connection with her father, trying to make him proud, to forge a bond based on the shared desire to provide a special food experience for others at the diner. But life at the diner with him was one horrible experience after another. She kept her dreams, kept working towards them, but it could not have been easy. Food and feelings are of course tied together for all of us, and whether it was the food or the feelings, this book was fantastic. Erin French is good with words, not just in describing the food so that the ingredients are mysterious yet familiar, with the tastes exploding in your mind, but in describing her emotions and feelings so that you also experience the pain and hurt and shame, along with the joy and hope, her constant drive and optimism. Erin made a lot of mistakes and errors in judgement that cost her dearly. But she endured and persevered. We – society – are often quick to judge. Why didn’t she do this instead of that? Was she so stupid she didn’t realize what was happening and what the consequences would be? But most of us, like Erin, do try to be positive, to take people at face value and with faith, to hope we can somehow eventually convince those who treat us badly to see our worth, to do right by us. And that’s what we see in her. Although she always felt her mother’s love, on the other side is her father who always made her feel like she was never enough, her boyfriend who deserted her when she became pregnant, and her first husband Tom, who started out loving but became astonishingly malevolent, spiteful, hateful, taking everything imaginable from her, leaving her at the very bottom, with nowhere to go but up if she was to find the will to go on at all. Should she have seen all of this sooner, stood up to these men, moved on? Maybe. But Erin realizes that looking back at what she could have or should have done isn’t much help, and all she can do is go forward; however it plays out. Erin French is resilient and persistent, and seems like one of those nice people you would want to know. She’s loving and caring, makes and keeps good friends, works hard to be successful, yet so much was thrown at her – or she stepped into it – so that she had a lot to overcome a lot of times. But overcome she did. Life is good now. She has her restaurant, her amazingly successful, renowned, in-demand restaurant, and most importantly, she has her son, her mother, her loving husband, and her sense of self. Thanks so much to Celadon Book for providing an advance copy of Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking a Life from Scratch for my honest opinion. It was riveting, Inspiring, hunger-inducing. A joy to read. Even when times were tough Erin French did her best, tried her best to stay upbeat and positive and optimistic for the future, acknowledged and took responsibility for her mistakes. Family was always first in her heart. I found myself cheering her on every page of the book and wish her continued success and happiness. All opinions are my own. #FindingFreedomMemoir, #CeladonReads, @CeladonBooks, #partner

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Date reviewed/posted: January 6, 2021 Publication date: April 6, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, AND the worst sciatica attack in your life means you MIGHT sleep 3 hours a night, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of th Date reviewed/posted: January 6, 2021 Publication date: April 6, 2021 When life for the entire galaxy and planet has turned on its end, you are continuing to #maskup and #lockdown to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation as the #secondwave is upon us, AND the worst sciatica attack in your life means you MIGHT sleep 3 hours a night, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. From Erin French, owner and chef of the critically acclaimed The Lost Kitchen, a TIME world dining destination, a life-affirming memoir about survival, renewal, and finding a community to lift her up Long before The Lost Kitchen became a world dining destination with every seating filled the day the reservation book opens each spring, Erin French was a girl roaming barefoot on a 25-acre farm, a teenager falling in love with food while working the line at her dad’s diner and a young woman finding her calling as a professional chef at her tiny restaurant tucked into a 19th-century mill. This singular memoir—a classic American story—invites readers to Erin's corner of her beloved Maine to share the real person behind the “girl from Freedom” fairytale, and the not-so-picture-perfect struggles that have taken every ounce of her strength to overcome, and that make Erin’s life triumphant. In Finding Freedom, Erin opens up to the challenges, stumbles, and victories that have led her to the exact place she was ever meant to be, telling stories of multiple rock-bottoms, of darkness and anxiety, of survival as a jobless single mother, of pills that promised release but delivered addiction, of a man who seemed to offer salvation but in the end ripped away her very sense of self. And of the beautiful son who was her guiding light as she slowly rebuilt her personal and culinary life around the solace, she found in food—as a source of comfort, a sense of place, as a way of bringing goodness into the world. Erin’s experiences with deep loss and abiding hope told with both honesty and humour, will resonate with women everywhere who are determined to find their voices, create community, grow stronger and discover their best-selves despite seemingly impossible odds. Set against the backdrop of rural Maine and its lushly intense, bountiful seasons, Erin reveals the passion and courage needed to invent oneself anew, and the poignant, timeless connections between food and generosity, renewal and freedom. Although this eas presented under the food/cooking/cookbooks category on Netgalley, it is actually a memoir bereft of recipes. I enjoyed reading of her journey and the cover of the book will help entice people into picking up and perusing the book - I can see recommending it to friends family and patrons alike as it shows that resilience and strength can help you reach your dreams, renew yourself and find the freedom you crave. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I simply adore emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/snowflakes / literally-like-overusers etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Morse

    Finding Freedom A Cook's Story : Remaking a Life from Scratch was an amazing story that started out with her wanting to do a completely different thing with her life. But growing up in Maine just seem to have her growing up helping as a normal child and playing with her sister. Growing up she was taught by her dad how to run the diner. She remembers going in there for breakfast and to catch the bus and after school. She saw what her dad did to her kittens in the burlap bag and kitty litter and w Finding Freedom A Cook's Story : Remaking a Life from Scratch was an amazing story that started out with her wanting to do a completely different thing with her life. But growing up in Maine just seem to have her growing up helping as a normal child and playing with her sister. Growing up she was taught by her dad how to run the diner. She remembers going in there for breakfast and to catch the bus and after school. She saw what her dad did to her kittens in the burlap bag and kitty litter and water to kill them. She didn't believe in God any more because in Sunday school she lifted her dress and showed them all her panties after what her dad did the to the kittens. I didn't like her dad at all. I was in tears almost. She learned how to run the diner and cook what he taught her and he never showed her any feelings of love growing up. Finally she graduated high school went on to college in Boston to become a doctor when came home for vacation she had got pregnant and that brought her back to Freedom to start to make a new life for herself. This woman was determined to make a life for her no matter how tough it was going to be. She was just the was she was. Pregnant and working in the diner with the only support she had was her mother to help her through all of this. She went to the doctors and and her father told her she better hope it be blue. Well it was a boy that would carry on the family name. She went looking for a job so she didn't have to live and have her parents support her and she found one and a small apartment for her and Jaim to live in. Then her next step in life was to start another job and be stronger. She had this man who knew when she worked and he would come in on her shifts and tip her good. Well one night it was closing and they where all done closing up and just sitting there having a bite to eat when the phone ran and it was Tom he had left his wallet there so she checked and he did and ask her to drop it off. She said ok she could do that . Then it went to dinner and it went on to something more. Before she new it they were getting married . This was where she knew that she was having problems because he stop coming home right after work and at night and then was coming home later and later that is when then the alcohol and abuse he started to take out on her. She knew that things where wrong and she would have to do something to pay the bills. Then she went to the doctors and was put on pills for medical issues that she explained to the doctor. Well she got hooked on them and started taking more and drinking more. Every time something knocked her down she got up and started all over again stronger and stronger than the last. When he took her son away was the the last straw for her she was going to prove to him and the courts that she could and would work to provide for her son and run a business. Erin and her mom and sister worked in The Lost Kitchen and it was better because it was run by women who loved what they brought to the door everyday and night to serve there customers. Erin was a very strong women and no matter what happened she was always remaking a life for her and her son stronger and better from Scratch. Thank you , #FindingFreedomMemoir # CeladonReads This was a book that when i picked it up I had a hard time putting it down.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tabitha (Tabi Thoughts)

    Finding Freedom is the upcoming memoir by chef and entrepreneur, Erin French. Though Erin is the owner and head chef of the well-praised restaurant The Lost Kitchen, her journey to success was anything but easy. Erin’s memoir highlights her life and her upbringing in restaurants from as early as age five. Being that her father owned a diner, Erin quickly became familiar with the food industry herself. She started working at her father’s restaurant at age twelve and learned all the basic kitchen s Finding Freedom is the upcoming memoir by chef and entrepreneur, Erin French. Though Erin is the owner and head chef of the well-praised restaurant The Lost Kitchen, her journey to success was anything but easy. Erin’s memoir highlights her life and her upbringing in restaurants from as early as age five. Being that her father owned a diner, Erin quickly became familiar with the food industry herself. She started working at her father’s restaurant at age twelve and learned all the basic kitchen skills. Though her passion for cooking didn’t come until later, Erin’s early experiences in her dad’s diner shaped her as a cook. “When you grow up in a restaurant, it’s inevitable that bits of it will rub off on you. It’s an intangible something that seeps its way into you until it sears itself in your belly, then your heart, as it did to both my sister and me, whether we wanted it or not. There is romance, there’s magic, there’s love. The ability to touch a complete stranger with a plate of food, to feed them and awaken their senses while filling them up with joy— it’s an intimacy that you can’t help craving.” By her early twenties, Erin wanted nothing more than to escape her hometown, Freedom, Maine. She got this wish when she was accepted into a college in Boston. But, her plans were soon derailed by an unexpected pregnancy at age twenty-one. With only two years of college under her belt, her growing belly, and an absent partner, Erin was forced to face reality and her parents in Freedom, Maine. After the birth of her son, Jaim, Erin was overjoyed. But, mixed with her joy was fear, sadness, and uncertainty. She now had to start over and she wasn’t sure where she would begin. It wasn’t long before she met her ex-husband, Tom. At first things with Tom were great, but she soon found herself not only battling depression but stuck in an unhappy and abusive marriage. While circumstances in Erin’s life made her want to give up, her desire to create a better live for her and her son pushed her forward. By age thirty, she was eager to get her life back on track. But, like most of us, she wasn’t exactly sure what that meant. She just knew she needed to be doing more than what she was doing. “When I stopped to look back on my life and add it all up, I couldn’t help questioning my value. My heart was burning for more in a way I couldn’t deny, but, at the same time, couldn’t yet identify.” Read my full review on the blog: https://tabithoughts.com/book-review-...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristi | Hidden Staircase |

    When I picked up this memoir, I had never heard of the small town of Freedom, Maine, Erin French, or her restaurant The Lost Kitchen. The cover is beautiful, and I really enjoy getting lost in a good memoir, so I dove right in. As is apparent from the first page, Ms. French grew up around food. When she was young, her father bought a local diner in Freedom and she started helping out there at an early age. While not formally trained as a chef, Ms. French began learning to cook while working with When I picked up this memoir, I had never heard of the small town of Freedom, Maine, Erin French, or her restaurant The Lost Kitchen. The cover is beautiful, and I really enjoy getting lost in a good memoir, so I dove right in. As is apparent from the first page, Ms. French grew up around food. When she was young, her father bought a local diner in Freedom and she started helping out there at an early age. While not formally trained as a chef, Ms. French began learning to cook while working with her father at the diner. Her memoir takes us on her journey to move out of small town life and onto something bigger, but fate (and some very difficult twists in her life) keeps bringing her back to Freedom. Ultimately, this inspiring memoir is one of resilience and hope. As the book begins, we learn that due to an unplanned pregnancy, she’s dropped out of college at age 21 to move back home to have her baby. Her life has taken an unexpected turn, but she’s determined to be a great mother and find a new path for her and her son. Right from the beginning as a single mother, we see that Ms. French is both a person who accepts and works with what life hands her, but also someone who continues to dream of what could be and finds a way to make it happen. Although, as we watch her story unfold, we see that there is a deep personal price she pays to make these dreams a reality. At times Ms. French’s story is uplifting, and other times it is heartbreaking. I loved Ms. French’s descriptions. Whether it was a dish she was cooking, gathering reclaimed wood from an old barn to repurpose, or even just a moment of solitude before welcoming guests to an underground supper club, it was so vivid I felt like I was there. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of nights when she served dinners – both the diner’s experience, but more how she felt seeing her dinner guests enjoy the fruits of her labor. The descriptions of food left me longing for a taste, and you can feel the love she puts into each dish she prepares. When I picked up this memoir, I had never heard of Freedom, Maine, Erin French, or The Lost Kitchen. I can tell you that after reading this, getting a chance to watch Ms. French prepare a beautifully cooked meal and then for me to enjoy it while I’m sitting at a hand-made table at The Lost Kitchen is now on my bucket list. I hope one day I’m lucky enough to check this one off the list. Review originally posted at Hidden Staircase

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kristina

    Finding Freedom charts Erin French's life through her love of food to her current position as owner/chef of The Lost Kitchen, a small restaurant in Freedom, Maine, the small town that Erin grew up on. We learn about her first being brought to the diner her father owned as a young girl and enjoying the food and watching the cooking closely. As she grows up, she starts helping at the diner, eventually taking over more and more of the cooking as her father retreats. She finds life in a small town d Finding Freedom charts Erin French's life through her love of food to her current position as owner/chef of The Lost Kitchen, a small restaurant in Freedom, Maine, the small town that Erin grew up on. We learn about her first being brought to the diner her father owned as a young girl and enjoying the food and watching the cooking closely. As she grows up, she starts helping at the diner, eventually taking over more and more of the cooking as her father retreats. She finds life in a small town difficult and finds a ray of light when she's accepted to a college in Boston. There, her life takes a turn. She finds herself pregnant with the father out of the picture and her father's great disappointment in her. She returns to Maine to try and build a life for her and her son, where she meets a man that she ultimately marries, but things begin to strain and fall apart. Here is where Erin's memoir starts to blend a mix of her love story to food and cooking juxtaposed with a descent in anxiety, depression, and addiction. We read loving passages about the seasonal menus she creates for first her pop-up dinners to the restaurant she opens. The way she describes the produce and meals will make any foodie's mouth water. While she is invested in her restaurant, she finds herself working long hours with little help from her husband. Her ability to stay with him and keep up at the restaurant rests on taking more and more anti-anxiety pills and drinking. Eventually this comes to a head she she finds herself in rehab, and then ultimately hospitalized, while losing everything important to her. But she comes through it all- a slow rise out of her mental health struggles and begins to cook again with her focus primarily on the well-being of her son. She rebuilds her culinary world and opens up a now well-known restaurant. She has a television series in the works. This memoir is interesting in that it blends French's clear passion for food and cooking with a tumultuous life and strained relationships with multiple family members. Clearly anyone into food and cooking will enjoy a lot of this, as well as anyone who enjoys reading stories about overcoming addiction and mental health issues. Thanks to @CeladonBooks for this advance reader copy in exchange for honest review. This book comes out in April! #FindingFreedomMemoir #CeladonReads #partner

  26. 5 out of 5

    Literature Lattes

    Reviewer's Note: Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy of this book in exchange for the honest review. #Partner You know how people say, "Don't go to the grocery store hungry." Well, the same should be said for reading master chef Erin French's new memoir. Not only will this new book make readers lust after delectable foods cooking in rural Maine, but it will transport readers right into "The Lost Kitchen." Restaurant owner and author Erin French is able to expertly translate her passion Reviewer's Note: Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy of this book in exchange for the honest review. #Partner You know how people say, "Don't go to the grocery store hungry." Well, the same should be said for reading master chef Erin French's new memoir. Not only will this new book make readers lust after delectable foods cooking in rural Maine, but it will transport readers right into "The Lost Kitchen." Restaurant owner and author Erin French is able to expertly translate her passion for cooking and effortlessly infuse it into her writing. Dripping with imagery and lush prose, the memoir provides an immersive reading experience. The book features excellent organization and structure which lends itself to the overall success of the story. The memoir is divided into five main sections, each covering a very important time within the author's life. Each portion of the book is well thought out, planned and executed. Without providing too many spoilers, Erin French has certainly overcome her share of obstacles. With content warnings including: divorce, drug abuse/alcoholism, abuse, she could have easily given up. In fact, I found the "Prospect" section hard to digest as a reader. There were so many places where her environment (either people or situations) failed Erin. It is important to note: I appreciated the author's honesty throughout the book. Writing this memoir must have been challenging for her. To have to revisit some of those moments and relive those interactions in order to document them must have been a huge stressor. As a reader, I applaud her frankness and her bravery for sharing these things with the world. For Erin French, the kitchen was a place where broken relationships were mended, life happened, and where magic was born. It is clear from this book that she found her calling to work as a chef. This memoir will satisfy even the hungriest of appetites with a story of strength and passion that will feed the soul.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Talie

    Thank you to Celadon Books for the arc of this title. One sentence review: A powerful memoir that is both: a. the story a woman who perseveres, through countless struggles, to ultimately create a wildly successful restaurant and b. a beautiful celebration of food. I started this memoir last night and was instantly taken in by French's story. The book is a chronology of French's life from childhood to today. In the course of the story we learn about her youth growing up on a farm in Maine and work Thank you to Celadon Books for the arc of this title. One sentence review: A powerful memoir that is both: a. the story a woman who perseveres, through countless struggles, to ultimately create a wildly successful restaurant and b. a beautiful celebration of food. I started this memoir last night and was instantly taken in by French's story. The book is a chronology of French's life from childhood to today. In the course of the story we learn about her youth growing up on a farm in Maine and working in her dad's diner. As she moves into adulthood French encounters a lot of gut wrenching obstacles. The book also describes French's struggles with depression. What I really appreciated about the book is that she acknowledges the mistakes she made and the consequences of those actions. (I'm being deliberately vague because the power of the book is watching the story unfold.). And she fights hard to overcome these obstacles and make a success of her life for both herself and her family. The second component of this book is a celebration of food. French's descriptions of food are mesmerizing. Her love of the farms of Maine also shines throughout this book. I love that French's business showcases the bounty of local farms. Her book feels like a tribute to the farm to fork movement. I highly recommend this book to people who love memoirs, food, farms or Maine. For a memoir I think the pace of this book is actually pretty fast. I honestly think the book would make an excellent movie. The book does contain a lot of descriptive language, which could be either a strength or weakness depending on your perspective. I did find it pretty easy to skip a paragraph or two when it pertained to a subject I wasn't particularly interested in. TW: The book deals with issues of abuse, alcohol and drug addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts, and a scene involving the slaughter of chickens for a meal. This book releases April 6, 2021.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Reads & Reviews

    I can’t think of a single time I’ve cried while reading the acknowledgments of a book. No doubt it happened because of the emotional attachment I developed while reading Erin French’s Finding Freedom, which as a reader makes this book-and Erin-incredibly special. Erin’s story stands out, not because it’s unusual, but because it’s familiar: The emotionally abusive men in her life who withheld their love from her; an unexpected pregnancy that led to giving up her dream of becoming a doctor; a mothe I can’t think of a single time I’ve cried while reading the acknowledgments of a book. No doubt it happened because of the emotional attachment I developed while reading Erin French’s Finding Freedom, which as a reader makes this book-and Erin-incredibly special. Erin’s story stands out, not because it’s unusual, but because it’s familiar: The emotionally abusive men in her life who withheld their love from her; an unexpected pregnancy that led to giving up her dream of becoming a doctor; a mother that stood silently strong by her side, encouraging her when needed and always loving her. It’s this connection with the reader, told with a voice that could easily be the reader’s own, that made it difficult for me to put Finding Freedom down. With her engaging, sometimes brutally honest, voice, Erin takes readers on a journey from her father’s small diner in Freedom, Maine to her unprecedented international success with her restaurant, The Lost Kitchen. In between she never stopped dreaming of having her own place, even as she prepared meals in pop-up settings on local farms, sharing her locally sourced meals with friends and strangers alike. And, she holds nothing back as she shares the horrors of her first marriage which, combined with her prescription drug addiction, struggles with anxiety and depression, and the loss of custody of her son, brought her to her knees. As a woman, I found Erin’s story inspiring and, as I finished reading Finding Freedom, I felt as though I’d made a new friend. Her ability to own her mistakes made her someone I could relate to, drawing me further into the book; her ability to get back up every time life knocked her down gave me hope; and her unrelenting drive to make her dreams a reality was unequivocally inspirational. All of this combined makes Finding Freedom easily one of the best memoirs I’ve read. Thank you to Celadon Books for an early copy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alison (The Lowrey Library)

    Read my full review here: https://thelowreylibrary.com/2021/02/... • I cannot be more grateful than I am to Celadon Books for sending me this ARC; everything about this was beautiful, and I loved it so much. Thank you. I’m incredibly glad I was able to #partner with you in sharing this book with the world. • In this (foodie but so much more than just a foodie) memoir, Erin French describes her life growing up in Freedom, Maine. She spent her childhood running free in the country and eating treats in Read my full review here: https://thelowreylibrary.com/2021/02/... • I cannot be more grateful than I am to Celadon Books for sending me this ARC; everything about this was beautiful, and I loved it so much. Thank you. I’m incredibly glad I was able to #partner with you in sharing this book with the world. • In this (foodie but so much more than just a foodie) memoir, Erin French describes her life growing up in Freedom, Maine. She spent her childhood running free in the country and eating treats in her father’s diner, a personal history that significantly influenced her foray into cooking when she opened her restaurant, The Lost Kitchen. It’s partly a story of broken family and addiction and loss, yes, but it’s also a story of resilience and hope and identity and finding home. • I think what I loved most about this was French’s ability to describe everything she saw or experienced or created with beautiful precision and detail. The setting (even as that setting changes from life stage to life stage) is vivid and clear and wonderful. And even though it’s a story of food, it’s really just a story of LIFE and how food has been a common thread linking these events of her life together. I was, at times, caught giggling over French’s casual, playful writing style and then felt tears filling my eyes mere pages later. I was absolutely starving reading about the meals she grew up eating and the meals she created when she was grown. I celebrated and cheered as she came into her own and opened this stellar restaurant ran by an essentially all-girl gang (and one good guy). Truly, I felt all the emotions reading this book (and we know that’s saying a lot for an enneagram 5 😉). Honestly, I can’t rave about this enough. PLEASE consider reading it when it comes out April 6th!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natalie (readswithnatalieb)

    4.5 Stars! First warning! Do not read this book on an empty stomach. But even if you just ate, chances are you’ll be hungry again because the description of food in this book is incredible. The book takes place in Maine, which also really bums me out because my partner and I were planning a trip to visit there because of the food scene but then you know, 2020. Even with all the food references, this book isn’t solely focused on food. After receiving this book from Celadon, I immediately knew I wo 4.5 Stars! First warning! Do not read this book on an empty stomach. But even if you just ate, chances are you’ll be hungry again because the description of food in this book is incredible. The book takes place in Maine, which also really bums me out because my partner and I were planning a trip to visit there because of the food scene but then you know, 2020. Even with all the food references, this book isn’t solely focused on food. After receiving this book from Celadon, I immediately knew I would love it assuming it was food specific with recipes, and tid bits to share with my partner. Boy was I wrong. There is way more to this book besides food. This is an “against all odds” type of story. Or just when you think someone has hit rock bottom, the bottom is actually lower. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to keep up with my curiosity of Erin’s life. To say she faced her share of obstacles would be an understatement. Content Warnings: addiction, abuse, suicide ideation, divorce, rehab, loss of custody. It’s an emotional read and with each page, Erin pulls back a layer of herself showing her vulnerability in this period of her life. I couldn’t help but admire her bravery, determination, and perseverance throughout life when she had absolutely nothing going for her. My favorite part of this book? The ending. I don’t want to spoil it, but she reciprocates the trust in believing in people who may not have the qualifications for a job. It’s worth the read, I’ll definitely check out her show (it’s on the Magnolia Network), and you better believe when Konrad and I finally get to go to Maine, her restaurant will definitely be on our to-do list! Thank you so much Celadon for this #gifted copy! If you’re a nonfiction lover, I highly recommend putting this book on your radar. It comes out April 6!

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.