We look at the altering experience of being born between two universes—from French baker and pastry chef Arnaud de Rambures and the multicultural kitchen of his childhood; to the inspired launch into the world of gastronomy by NYC author and wine scholar Dewey Markham Jr., now living in Bordeaux; to Michelle Hum, Francophile and self-proclaimed foodie, whose Malaysian-born mother tested her taste buds with cuisine from all over the Eurasian continent. Join us on this global tour of flavors, familiar and new.

Arnaud de Rambures writing about the work of the artisan, a combination of love and passion to create better products and better flavors, states: My admiration comes from people who always strive for more. Life is short, so life deserves that we live it at 200%! Every single person on earth has his or her weaknesses and strengths. Never stop when you believe you did enough, but always strive for the best of yourself. Passionate people are the ones who make you move forward, they are the ones who make you believe everything is possible.

Enjoy these French Impressions highlights with links to the full interviews published in A Woman’s Paris.

Arnaud de Rambures on the work of the artisan – a combination of love and passion

Arnaud de Rambures, owner and baker of Chez Arnaud, LLC, “The French Bakery,” was born in 1986 in La Réunion, a French Island in the Indian Ocean. At age 18, Arnaud began his career in the humanitarian field and founded an organization dedicated to schools and libraries in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa. In the city of Saponé, a town in central Burkina Faso, the organization built an elementary school and library. The organization continues to develop new schools and to the support of children of Burkina Faso.

In 2006, following his graduation from business school in Paris, Arnaud worked with an American company to develop sales of cardiac surgical devices in France and Africa. After several years he decided to leave the medical device field and focus on artisanal work. The work of the skilled artisan has been devalued more and more over the past several years and Arnaud embraced the challenge to make it a different experience. His idea was to focus on the difference between the artisans’ work and that of the industrial workers.

The work of the artisan, for Arnaud, is a combination of love and passion—the major difference that allows him to create and innovate new products—encouraging ongoing feedback from his clientele. A graduate of the French Institute of Baking and Pastry (Institut National de la Boulangerie Pâtisserie) in Rouen, France, he decided to jump to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean to bring a new experience to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. Arnaud is 26-years-old and very involved in his three Twin Cities bakeries and their neighborhoods; the original bakery is located in Maple Grove, and in 2011 the bakery in White Bear Lake, and the newest bakery in 2012 located on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul. Chez Arnaud, The French Bakery. (Read Arnaud de Rambures’ full interview published in English.)

Dewey Markham Jr., from French cuisine to Bordeaux wines

Dewey Markham Jr., wine scholar and author living in Mérignac, France, was born and raised in New York City. He is a graduate of New York University, with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master’s degree in Cinema. During his late twenties, Markham’s professional direction turned to cuisine, and after working as a cook in Manhattan he enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America, the United States’ preeminent cooking school. While still a student at the Institute, Markham began writing articles on various aspects of gastronomy, and after graduation he was awarded a fellowship as an editorial assistant engaged in research and writing for the school’s textbook, The New Professional Chef.

Since 1993 Markham has lived and worked in Bordeaux, where he wrote 1855: A History of the Bordeaux Classification, published in 1997 to critical and professional acclaim, and winner of the James Beard award for wine book of the year. He holds a degree in wine tasting from the School of Oenology at Bordeaux University.

From 1986 to 1989 Markham lived in Paris, where he was a director of the French cooking school L’Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, introducing a wine studies program to the curriculum. This led to an increasing shift from cuisine to wine, and upon his return to the United States he worked in two of New York’s leading wine shops, first at Morrell and Company, then at Sherry-Lehmann Wines and Spirits; in addition, Markham has worked as Associate Director of the Swiss Wine Information Council. During this time, he was invited back to the Culinary Institute to teach a series of wine courses, and wrote Wine Basics (published in the United States by John Wiley and Sons), an introductory book for the beginning wine drinker that has become a standard title in the literature, having gone through nineteen printings to date. (Read Dewey Markham Jr.’s, full interview published in English.)

Michelle Hum, a self-proclaimed Francophile and foodie

Michelle Hum, student at the University of Minnesota, is pursuing double majors in Journalism (Advertising) and Psychology as well as a minor in French. She has been in charge of many of the digital aspects of A Woman’s Paris since November 2011. As the youngest interviewee for AWP’s French Impressions, most of her biography is yet to be written. Today, she is maneuvering her way into the world of advertising with hopes of being an account planner and one day living overseas.

Michelle is a self-proclaimed Francophile and foodie. She is also a dabbling linguaphile. Growing up, her parents stressed the importance of having an international understanding and acceptance of other cultures. Travelling was part of this. Michelle has been fortunate enough to visit countries on three continents and live in France during a semester abroad. In order to stay connected with many of the cultures she experienced, food has become very important to Michelle. Whenever she wants to revisit Penang, Malaysia, all she needs to do is prepare a bowl of Asam Laksa. Her love of exploring new cultures has also spurred her interest in languages. Though only currently able to speak English and French, she is also learning Mandarin and starting to teach herself Spanish. (Read Michelle Hums’ full interview published in English.)

A Woman’s Paris — Elegance, Culture and Joie de Vivre

We are captivated by women and men, like you, who use their discipline, wit and resourcefulness to make their own way and who excel at what the French call joie de vivre or “the art of living.” We stand in awe of what you fill into your lives. Free spirits who inspire both admiration and confidence.

Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening. — Coco Chanel (1883 – 1971)

Text copyright ©2012 A Woman’s Paris. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.