Hot Book Du Jour: Erin French’s ‘Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story’

Mike Fleming Jr
·2 min read

EXCLUSIVE: Here’s a book about a chef that started at a slow boil and now has as many as eight offers on the table for film and television. Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story; Remaking A Life From Scratch tells the story of Erin French. She currently runs The Lost Kitchen, a restaurant in a converted mill in Freedom, ME, that is so hot you can only get a reservation if you send a postcard in advance and are chosen.

But French’s story goes much deeper, and she struggled mightily to be the culinary toast of town. She grew up in Maine, working at 14 in the diner her father owned and operated, and dreaming of getting away. Food was their common bond in what otherwise was a frosty relationship between father and daughter. French left home to study in Boston to become a doctor, but two years in, her dreams were dashed when she returned home to tell her parents she was pregnant. Her father was furious. Feeling worthless and struggling to support her son, French returned to cooking. She fell in love and married, and opened the first Lost Kitchen restaurant in Belfast, ME.

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While the restaurant was soon packed each night, her marriage eventually cratered, partly because of her issues with substance abuse and depression. Rock bottom was hit when she divorced and lost custody of her son. And then she bounced back. First, she served meals from an old silver Airstream while she got herself together and forgave herself for her flaws. That led to the opening of The Lost Kitchen, a restaurant in a picturesque abandoned mill with a staff comprised of women. The restaurant survived the pandemic and is now soaring. So is her uplifting story. Her memoir landed near the top of the bestseller lists when it was published earlier this month.

French also stars in The Lost Kitchen, a reality series about her restaurant for Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network that has been picked up for a second season to shoot later this summer.

An auction is quietly being waged by Management 360. Sources said there has been a stampede, with every book-minded female producer, and numerous studios and financiers vying. Expect a deal to be cooked up by early next week if not sooner. Stay tuned.

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