Rachel Khoo became an international cooking sensation when she opened the smallest restaurant in Paris – a table for two in her apartment. With her TV show, The Little Paris Kitchen, currently airing, she chats to F&HE about her foodie journey.
Have you always had a passion for food? Yes. My mother is Austrian and we have a strong tradition of baking and making sweet treats. That is why I have more of an interest in patisserie. The cooking side came when I was living in Paris.
Tell us about your decision to leave your job and head for France. I spent a long time in London and was fed up. My job in PR and marketing was interesting but not as creative as I wanted it to be. I realised I’d never leave London if I did not do it then, and I thought it would be interesting to learn French and to experience another culture. It was an adventure and I wanted one. My parents thought I was crazy because I had a good job.
How did you learn French? I went to French classes but I found that the best way of learning was to speak it. I worked as a perfume girl at a store and I had to speak French.
How did the TV show come about? I came up with the idea after I got a book deal with Penguin, while running the restaurant and testing recipes. I felt strongly that the book could attract viewers. I approached a lot of production companies and Plum Productions immediately understood what I wanted. The BBC then commissioned a pilot.
What do you enjoy the most about your show? Meeting amazing food producers like Nicolas Géant, a local beekeeper, who farms on the rooftop of one of Paris’s most popular attractions, Grand Palais; the baker from one of my favourite bakeries produces beautiful breads and does it purely for the joy; going to an oyster cellar… I want to share all this with other people and to show that there are so many sides to Paris.
Do you miss your restaurant now that it’s closed? I miss it a little bit. I still stay in my flat and I’m thinking of getting a separate space for the restaurant.
By ZAZA MOTHA