In a busy modern life, meals are often relegated to five- or ten-minute time slots. The French have long been lauded as culinary experts, and the emphasis they place on time spent around the dinner table is yet another secret worth borrowing. Living la vie de château at Château Bosgouet in Normandy, Jane Webster and her Australian family have embraced the traditions of the French table with surprise and delight at each turn, from navigating the market to setting the table to making the most of a vegetable garden, and their adventures are captured here by the sophisticated eye of photographer Robyn Lea.
These sixty recipes—organized around ten themes, including holiday traditions, lunch box contents, joie de vivre, and the French Sunday lunch—are a sensational catalog of the Webster clan’s favorite food moments. The double-baked three-cheese soufflé, chicken and tarragon pies, or lemon curd panna cotta with fresh summer berries are just a few of the featured dishes, all of which, when paired with good conversation and company, are ideal catalysts for creating an occasion remembered for years to come. Fresh, seasonal ingredients are always highlighted, as is the value of setting aside as much time as possible for these all-important meals shared with family and friends.
A consuming passion for all things French led Australian-born Jane Webster to a life between two countries and cultures. After their first trip to France, Webster, her husband, Peter, and their four children returned year after year, eventually buying a château in the tiny village of Bosgouet in Normandy. The first two years in Bosgouet were chronicled in the Australian best seller At My French Table: Food, Family and Joie de Vivre in a Corner of Normandy (Penguin Random House, 2008). Webster has since published another two French food and lifestyle memoirs: French Ties: Love, Life and Recipes (Penguin Random House, 2012) and French House Chic (Thames & Hudson, 2017). She operates her culinary and lifestyle experiences, the French table, from her magnificent château, gardens, and potager, which provide the perfect setting for receiving guests in the authentic French fashion, an art Webster has perfected.
Over the past two decades, Australian-born photographer, author, and director Robyn Lea has worked around the globe. Her work has been published in Vogue, The New York Times, Marie Claire Italia, Architectural Digest, T Magazine, and Vogue Living, among others. Lea has an extensive exhibition history of more than ten solo shows of her photographic work, including one at the prestigious Vittoriano Museum in Rome in 2015, and multiple group exhibitions. Following the success of her best-selling book Dinner with Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature (Assouline, 2015), Lea wrote and photographed Dinner with Georgia O’Keeffe: Recipes, Art & Landscape (Assouline, 2017). She also photographed Venetian Chic (Assouline, 2017) and was selected for the coveted role of photographer for the much-anticipated new coffee table book on the Hôtel Ritz Paris. Prior to this book, Lea photographed Jane Webster’s books French Ties: Love, Life and Recipes and French House Chic. Lea is currently working on a solo exhibition to be held in Italy, and writing and photographing several new book titles to be released over the next three years.
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