“That is such a beautiful thing that is very human - this desire to nourish and be nourished in that process of cooking. It changes from this labor, to something that’s more joyful.”
We’re in great company with Makenna Held, owner of La Pitchoune, a country home in the French Riviera which just so happens to be “The House That Julia Child Built.”
Here in this 1960’s intimate yet luxury cottage with its iconic pegboard kitchen, Makenna welcomes historical foodies and aspiring home chefs alike to visit as guests in her home and students of her Courageous Cooking School.
In this episode, in true Julia Child fashion, Makenna gives a humorous and honest peek behind the scenes of what it takes to build a business, restore a storied home, raise a loving family, rebut stereotypes, and tend to curious guests, all with a swift flip of a pan and “courage of your convictions.”
[1:30] Makenna opens up about her ironic upbringing - raised by Francofiles but certainly not Foodies, before falling in love with food and hospitality, but not pursuing a career in either.
[4:00] There’s much Makenna has in common with the late Julia Child, a cherished American cook - from her “muppety” tall stature to taste in college and love for French cooking.
[6:50] How we wish the walls of La Pitchoune could talk of the dinner party conversations between M.F.K. Fisher, James Beard, Simone Beck, amongst others that spearheaded the “slow food movement” in 70’s America from the countryside of Provence, France.
[11:10] It was love at first sight for Makenna - seeing the heart shaped shutters of La Pitchoune featured in a New York Times article - that caused her to ask the question, “Wouldn’t it be cool to own Julia Child’s house?”
[33:20] Why the Courageous Cooking School is not a “cooking school” and the “cooking” is only one tiny piece of the experience.
[45:00] What makes Grasse a “community in transition,” best known as the world’s perfume capital but untapped beyond that, and what Makenna and other locals are doing to revitalize its potential.
[50:30] How Makenna plans to make the Courageous Cooking School more accessible and affordable - from day classes in her new restaurant in town to training videos and live workshops online.
[55:00] As a thought leader and activist in today’s hospitality scene, Makenna opens up about a special documentary project her team is taking on to bring back the lost stories and shine a light on the LGBTQ+ community’s important role in making American cuisine & hospitality what it is today.
[1:00:30] As Julia Child often said,”Have the courage of your convictions,” what about the word “courage,” the intentional and informed risk taking, drives Makenna through her day to day life and business decisions.
- Provence, 1970 by Luke Barr
- Slow Food: Flavors and Memories of America’s Hometowns by Michael James
- Bonsoirs Sheets
- Dyson Hair Care
- CAUDALÍE Skincare
- Hermès Blankets
- Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook by Illyanna Maisonet