Jane Bertch, French addict

We had the pleasure to speak about Jane Bertch’s first book The French Ingredient in our April book review.

Time to learn more about this modern American in Paris, who has lived in Europe for more than 20 years.


Jane bertchLET’S CHAT

Hello Jane,

So nice to enjoy your company in UzEssentiel.com,

As we said previously, you live for now some time in Europe, and more especially in
France. When did you decide to come over from America and why?

Today, do you still live all year long in Paris with your family or part time between France and America, and more especially Chicago I understood…

I originally arrived in Europe at the end of 1999 to live and work in London for an American Bank. That same American Bank transferred me to Paris at the end of 2005.

In 2009 I decided to exchange the Corporate world for becoming an Entrepreneur here in Paris. From that point on, I have lived and worked full time in Paris.


You have a BA in English, which includes linguistics and media, a MA in labor and industrial relations and, last but not least, an MA from our French business school INSEAD

Do these areas of expertise help you to merge yourself in a professional life in France? In what sector are/were you working apart La Cuisine de Paris?

I am a firm believer that a variety of experiences, educational and work, can only but make you a well-rounded professional. Each of my past experiences have really shaped who I am today. I am an avid learner, and I think when you love to learn, it makes you consider what is effective teaching, so this I have definitely used in my current business. With this focus, I spend a lot of time thinking about client experience.

At La Cuisine Paris, we pride ourselves in culinary educational experiences that are warm and inclusive. And while the focus is on learning about French cuisine, the underlying experience is learning about culture.


Logo la cuisine de parisYou founded your cooking school in 2009, which is known to be the largest nonprofessional culinary school in France. And, I would like to add, a great way to pay tribute to our gastronomy.

Were you always fan of French gastronomy? Is the school the perfect way to join your interest in this area to the desire of foreigners to know better our cuisine?

It is probably more accurate to say that I love the experience of sharing food together. In my opinion food is a wonderful vehicle for sharing culture, sharing ideas, connecting and discovering.

Food is so closely interconnected with culture it is close to impossible to separate them – and this is what La Cuisine Paris primary focus is, sharing culture through food. So while our clients do certainly get to know cuisine better while they are with us, most importantly they get to discover the wonderful culture of France.


La cuisine française©jane bertch


Who are your business partners?

We have a lot of relationships in the city, which are very important to doing business in France.

Our main partner is E. Dehillerin, the wonderful cooking equipment store that dates back to 1820. We have had the honour of working with Mr Dehillerin since our beginning in 2009.


Poultry cooking class©La Cuisine Paris, Jane BertchWho are your team's members and who are the chefs working with you?

Our wonderful chef team is composed of well qualified experts in cuisine and pastries. Most of them have come from the school Grégoire Ferrandi, a top professional training school here in the city.

We also have a wonderful operational team that handles client queries on a daily basis, often advising them and helping them to arrange the culinary experience suited to their interests.

And of course, another very important part of our team are the wonderful members that support in the kitchens and keep La Cuisine Paris bright and shiny and ready to welcome our clients each and every day.

As far as you are concerned, have you taken cooking lessons before starting your school and are you today one of your school’s... chefs?

Like most people I have taken a cooking class in my lifetime – and what I realized is that I enjoyed the shared experience of making a meal with others – more so than the final product.

You learn so much about yourself and others when you cook together. Having said that, my clients deserve to learn from experts in that domain, and I am not one of them, my team members are. All the team members in a small business play a crucial role, the chefs are crucial in the kitchen, my domain is outside of that!


Macarons la cuisine paris jane bertch


You were lucky enough to settle your school in the very heart of Paris, Quai de l'Hôtel de ville, few steps from Paris townhall, which, of course, add a very special touch to the French atmosphere…

Between courses and masterclasses, what triggers the subject of the next lesson? Do your students ask for some special topic or the themes depend on the season, the calendar events, such as Christmas, Easter and so on?

We are always looking to enhance our offer, and a lot of this is driven by client interest. We do have our regular programs which are focused around classic icons of French cuisine and pâtisserie, but do often host private classes that are tailored to specific interests.

I am hoping in the future we will add to our offer new options, by getting out in the very diverse regions of France – it
would be lovely to really highlight all of the regions that make France so very special!




Le petit plus ? The online video classes! 

Such as French bread basics, Classic French sauces or… Croissants and Breakfast pastry fundamentals,

which sound delicious…



You organized food or market tours too. How do you plan them?

This is one of my favourite experiences – there is nothing like the Markets to give you a glimpse into life in Paris! They really are the heartbeat of our neighbourhoods.

We have the benefit of being located close to two main markets, Marché Maubert and Marché Monge. Between the two markets we cover 5 days a week for a market class. The experience starts at the market where the group meets the chef at the market, tours and shops and then returns to the school to work on their cooking class!

Of course thereafter they enjoy dining on their meal – with wine bien sûr!



The French Ingredient is a memoir about building a life in Paris one lesson at a time!

In the book, I talk about my arrival here in France, and the catalysts and the career changes that eventually led to La Cuisine Paris

(sometimes the universe drops a little crumb for you to follow)...

After close to 20 years here in France, there have been some fun (and not-so-fun) lessons along the way.

I'll fill you in on the challenges of starting and running a business in France - particularly when you start a business you know nothing about...

all of the magical things I have learned about French culture,

and this lovely city that has adopted me (even if it kicks my butt from time to time)...



The french ingredient jane bertchThe French Ingredient, a memoir is your very first book, published in Penguin Random House. You couldn’t find a more perfect title for a
cuisine lover!

How did it come along? I guess it is part memories of your French life and part reflexions about Paris… It should be filled with anecdotes and little stories, should it not? Tell us how the idea of writing a book came to you and how you worked on it?

Another idea that was in the back of my mind which started to take form during COVID – of course I had a bit of time on my hands!

The book talks about my move to Paris, and subsequent move from a corporate job to starting La Cuisine Paris. While the story takes place in our favourite city, the focus is on culture, life experience, discovering life in Paris, learning about doing business in a new industry and a new culture – and everything in between! Each chapter ends with an ‘astuce’ a little cultural tip about life in Paris.

A book is a long process, so from beginning to end, it has been close to a four year project!


Are you currently working on a new book? You must have plenty of stories to tell us?

For you, what is the best part of living in Paris? What would be your advice for a newcomer?

My gosh – it is tempting, but I have quite a few other things I need to focus on at the moment. But who knows, there may be a number two in me.

The best part of living in Paris is the appreciation for joie de vivre if I can say that. The French locals I know are incredibly proud, they work very hard, but they also appreciate the sacred time to enjoy life – even if over a coffee.

The advice I would give to a newcomer is to take time to observe and learn! While we all have similarities as humans, there are cultural differences with how life works here in Paris – some of which operate below the surface. A keen eye that is able to see those and adapt to them will be successful!


Many thanks to Jane Bertch for her time and collaboration to this article.

The right address: La Cuisine Paris, 80 Quai de l'Hôtel de ville, 75004 Paris. For any question please call on +33 (0)1 40 51 78 18 or write to contact@lacuisineparis.com. Visit @La Cuisine de Paris Instragram page.

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