What's Your Beef?

Francesca stood on her third floor balcony overlooking the Seine and decided to accept the Canal+ offer: her own cooking show on French TV, in English, at twice the fee she commanded in England. She had come a long way.

Three months earlier she had arrived in Paris with one suitcase of clothes, a second suitcase of kitchen gadgetry, and the lease paperwork for a one bedroom apartment in Saint Michel. While she was well known at home in England there was almost no chance of being recognized here. The pilot episode for her cooking show had been aired on France Télévisions but viewing figures had been so low that the series had not been picked up. Providing she avoided tourist attractions she could probably spend a few months here completely unnoticed.  Having just completed filming for her latest series back home, Francesca was ready for a prolonged break. She was looking forward to recharging her batteries and rediscovering her love of cooking.

She had been here for a week and had already scouted the local markets, bringing home new and exciting ingredients each time.  She had planned to develop an entire range of new menus to be published in a weighty coffee table book: each recipe would be accompanied by an aspirational, highly staged, photo – all styled and shot on a well lit set back in London. After a week however, the city was weaving its spell: she was entirely seduced by her tiny apartment with its tiny balcony, tiny kitchen and the conversations she had with expert stall holders or shop keepers every time she went out.  Every day was an adventure which always started with an early morning baguette from the bakery on the corner and ended with a Ricard in the café downstairs. In between there was an array of street stalls and specialist shops, all highly specialized, all beautifully laid out, all utterly irresistible. Small packages of one ingredient or another, neatly wrapped in paper, some even tied with ribbon, were brought home with the utmost care. Some became a new and interesting version of an age old recipe, while others were greedily unwrapped and consumed without ceremony on the couch in front of the open windows, with the sounds of the city wafting up from below. Recipes were carefully recorded in her notebooks with the intention that she would recreate them in a couple of weeks’ time, any errors could and wo...

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Katherine Horejsi
May 21 2020

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Great plot and wonderful characters, with an excellent finish leaving no bad aftertaste!

Tony Spencer
Jun 18 2020

A great story, with a real sense of Paris. I loved it.

Rod Webb
Jun 16 2020