The Kitchen Artist

by Annie Stein
Print Email

FcoupleNo one goes to Francois Kirkland’s house for dinner. Friends go there to dine.

What her husband, the photographer Douglas Kirkland’s studio is to him, the hub of his art, the capital city of his creativity, the kitchen is to Francois.

It is the stage she was born to dance on.

Being French helps.

At 19 she met and fell in love with Douglas who was in Paris shooting CoCo Chanel for Life Magazine. Dropping out of University to follow the tall, lanky, ultra sexy artist back to New York to be his young bride, it never occurred to her that she would spend so much of her life in a kitchen.

Or perhaps it did. Again, she’s French.

Cooking, though, is indeed her art form and Francois is a gifted artist.

F MenuWord got out early about Douglas Kirkland shoots. They were coveted jobs to land. The subject was always fascinating or sexy or amazing looking or all three. Douglas was a genius in motion, working from the depth of his soul as shown by the sweat on his brow.

But it was lunch that had the NYC advertizing world abuzz.

There was no calling down to the Deli for tuna sandwiches, no ordering in pizza and salad. The French chef in the studio kitchen with the cobalt blue eyes, wearing the tight skirt and high heels (or barefoot) served a full feast every day for cast and crew.

Starting with soup or salad, going on to an entre of roast chicken or Beef Bourgogne, she would finish it up with an apple tartine made from scratch.

The talent, the assistants, hair and make up, everyone began echoing the studio’s most popular phrase by about 10 am; “When’s lunch?”

Even after all of these years (and thousands of shoots) the only time Francois doesn’t make lunch is when they are on location. Then they all, including the Parisian chef, miss it. That is because cooking and feeding people is what Francois does. It isn’t her job or a chore, it’s just what she does. And she does it with such ease and so much love.

For the non pro’s, those of us who don’t work with Douglas but are lucky enough to be friends or family, there are dinners. Amazing dinners and for the very, very, oh -so –lucky there are Holiday Feasts!

F frieHere is a picture of Francois as she entertains dinner guests; curly black hair, lots of it, swirling just past her shoulders. Dolce and Gabanna body-fitting dress, fitting her body perfectly. Heels; five to six inches. Right arm adorned with a stack of mismatched silver bracelets that make music when she moves.
She laughs and stirs the sauce on the stove.

She bends down to check the potatoes roasting in the oven.

Her heels clank on the floor as she crosses from oven to sink to wash lettuce.

All while she shares a funny antidote about her day. She is mesmerizing.

There is a small colorful bowl from Provence filled with perfectly oiled and salted almonds next to a tray of assorted French cheeses on top of the counter dividing the kitchen from the dinning room. Guests can nibble while watching her whisk fresh lemon juice into olive oil and balsamic vinegar for the salad.

The watching, the nibbling, the listening to the music of moving bracelets is all foreplay for what’s to come. Like one of the Williams sisters playing tennis, Beyonce dancing, or yes, Douglas taking pictures, she makes it look so damn easy!

Fgroup

Those of us who invite our friends over for dinner but have never treated them to a true “dinning experience” (or as my husband calls it, “real cooking!”) stand in awe of Francois . Stand in awe and praise, waiting hopefully for our next dinner invitation.

LA based Writer, Annie Stein, has written for C and More Magazines, NYTimes and is a regular blogger on Huffington Post. She runs creative writing workshops for at risk teens.

Comments   

0 #9 John Alexander 2016-08-31 07:26
Bravo Annie!
Quote
0 #8 Hilary Beane 2016-08-30 20:27
Very TASTY article mate!!
Quote
0 #7 Beth Rothman 2016-08-30 17:59
Annie, your dish is "love" and you do it so well. What a gift you are to all the people who know you.
Quote
0 #6 Jan Woods 2016-08-30 17:39
wish francoise was my bff. annie, beautifully personal and loving article on francoise!
Quote
0 #5 Jeff Stein 2016-08-30 16:54
Annie, my wife, has captured the experience of dining at the Kirklands to a T. Great food. Great article.
Quote
0 #4 Kimberley 2016-08-30 16:16
Dear Annie,

Quel hommage! We should all strive to be worthy, and I do try. Cooking with love is the secret!!!!
Quote
0 #3 Susie Blakely 2016-08-30 15:57
You said it perfectly Annie...I was always in awe of her myself.
Quote
0 #2 Lisa Bittan 2016-08-30 15:11
So many treasures hidden right next to us--thank you annie stein for alerting me once again!
Quote
0 #1 sandy davidson 2016-08-30 13:52
What a wonderful gift the charming talented Francois shares, tantalizingly reported by the her great and appreciative friend Annie.
Quote

Add comment


Security code
Refresh

 

restaurant news

Bistro du Midi
Boston
by Kitty Kaufman

bistromidiBistro du Midi is all about location. Facing the Public Garden and adjacent to the Four Seasons in Boston, it lives on Boylston Street not where you live, at least not where I live. But it's where...

Read more...
Dinner and a Show
Michigan
by Ann Nichols

ujai01.jpgThe second of my eating out experiences this week took me to Ukai, a Japanese restaurant in Okemos, Michigan. Chosen by my 11-year-old nephew as the site of his birthday dinner, Ukai occupies a...

Read more...
Code Ko
New York
by Paul Mones

kodoor.jpgI was lucky enough to snag a seat at the hallowed (and reservation demented) Momofuku Ko in New York in early October because someone had (oh my god!) cancelled and I was quick enough to grab the...

Read more...
Kai Lobach's World, and His Currywurst
Los Angeles
by Annie Stein

currywurstoutsideKai Lobach's “baby” is Currywurst, the hole in the wall sausage restaurant on Fairfax Avenue that he opened a few years ago and is fighting to keep alive and well. Small, compact, and beautiful as...

Read more...