Colette Rossant- French American Cookbook Author

It takes courage and bravery to be a chef. Putting your ideas and innovations in a plate and presenting them to people requires guts and a lot of passion. Today, a talented chef is looked upon with great respect. Most of them become celebrities, writing bestselling cookbooks and having their own restaurants in the world’s biggest cities. One such name is Colette Rossant.

Born in Paris in 1932, Colette is a French-American cookbook author, journalist, translator, and restauranteur. She is a member of the Palache Family and spent most of her childhood in a mansion in a Garden City district of Cairo, Egypt, where she had moved with her mother during World War I. Her grandparents and aunts and cousins raised her in Cairo, all of whom excelled in the kitchen. In fact, her closest friend, growing up, was her house cook, Ahmet. It was then, in her early years, that Colette developed a keen interest in cooking.

Once the war ended, Colette returned to Paris to continue her education. There she lived with her maternal grandparents and brother, occasionally joined by her mother. In Paris, she studied at the Lycee La  Fontaine and met numerous French chefs that taught her about her French culinary heritage. She also spent a year learning English near Brighton, UK. Eventually, she earned a B.A degree in Comparative Literature at Sorbonne and married an American architect, James Rossant, in 1955.

Colette then moved to New York with her husband and began pursuing several careers, including teaching, writing, translating and building a restaurant business while raising a family. While she explored many professions and taught French for several years, her connection with food never faded. As she explored New York, she became interested in bettering the food she found there. For that, Colette published her first, of seven cookbooks, titled Cooking with Colette, in 1975. This cookbook introduced children to the basics of French food. In her book, she said, “If they are ready to look into a pot on the stove, they are ready to cook.” The book explores desserts, appetizers, fish, poultry, salad, soups and vegetables. She uses a chatty and informal tone, encouraging readers to alter recipes creatively.

Since then, Colette has published various cookbooks targeting different audiences. In another cookbook, she addresses busy parents and helps them prepare meals without spending hours in the kitchen. She lists creative recipes  by category and preparation time, including dishes like snail stew with walnuts, pumpkin mousse, tomato jam, Almond rillettes and more,

Her third cookbook, A Mostly French Food Processor Cookbook, made her famous in the food industry. The New York Magazine began considering her as an ‘Underground Gourmet.’ She got the opportunity to serve as the food and design editor for McCalls Magazine and later became a columnist for New York Daily News, where she would write a popular column known as ‘Ask Colette.’

She also wrote a memoir about her childhood in Cairo. For years, her children had endless questions about her childhood, and she would tell them stories about her growing up. These stories seemed exotic and unreal to them. Hence, Colette started the memoir with her early childhood memories and explained how she was under the care of a French–trained Sudanese family chef.

In 1970, Colette started a cooking school for children that later developed into a television show for PBS called Zee Cooking School. She has been nominated for several awards, like the James Beard Award for Magazine feature with Recipes, a 2000 IACP Cookbook Award for her Memories of Lost Egypt and the 2002 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. Colette

Colette spent her entire life exploring different careers and passions, but no matter where she went, her cooking heritage never left her. Today, she is best known for her cookbooks and French Cuisine and the adventures that came in between.

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