What inspired you to become a chef?
As a young girl, and the oldest of six, it was much more fun to help in the kitchen than to do other chores or schoolwork. At night, I was the little girl hiding under her covers with a cookbook. When I married my French husband, who was a chocolatier and pastry chef in France, I ended up living there for years. When we got divorced, I moved back to the States but brought my appreciation for beautiful meals with me.
When did Black Diamond Culinary open and what is it like?
Black Diamond opened in Franklin in July. Our total space is 1700 square feet, with 1100 for kitchen and dining rooms. We have French style dining sets that can seat 10 people at each table, and we limit our classes to 20 people. Above each table is a crystal chandelier, and there’s a baby grand piano that actually plays itself. Gray countertops and a white and gray décor add to the French feel.
What inspired you to open a culinary kitchen?
I created Black Diamond so people can have fun. Some people take part in the cooking and others prefer to sit back and watch. People want to come in and just escape for a couple of hours. They want to have a glass of wine, cook some food, and sit and chat. It can be hands on if you want it to be hands on. Sometimes it’s the women who get in there and sometimes it’s the men. Some people are there to have a romantic couples’ night. Others may come for a bachelorette party or a girls’ night out. I also want to enlighten people about food and have them take the time to understand what they’re eating.
What classes are you offering this fall?
We’re going to try to change the recipes with the seasons. So for fall we are going to make a sweet potato gnocchi with sage butter in order to get the full combination of flavors. We also plan on having wine tastings with French, Italian, and California wines. I hope to have my son, Christopher, who is a sommelier, come over from France to take part.
Where do your recipes come from?
I’ve been collecting recipes for 45 years, and then I tweak them to make them work for different things. I like to offer fine-dining dishes that use five ingredients or less. I love French cooking with a little American twist. When I go to Michelin-star restaurants in France and love a dish, I ask the chefs to give me their recipes, and they usually do!
Where do you get your ingredients?
Before COVID, I was planning on buying most of my ingredients from the vendors at the Franklin Farmer’s Market. Right now, all of my ingredients come from Whole Foods, which allows everyone to be able to easily purchase them on their own.
Why is it important to use the best ingredients in a recipe?
I believe the best ingredients, those without chemicals and artificial ingredients, make everything taste so good.
What is your favorite dish to make?
My favorite is Gratin Potatoes, with the cream and the butter and the layers of thin sliced potatoes with Gruyère cheese inside. This dish can complement any meal, whether it’s steaks, chicken, lamb or turkey.