Is 2018 YOUR Year to Shine?


Is it possible to look younger and feel better in 2018?  The answer is a resounding YES! Join me this month for Food the Secret Fountain of Youth, a special kind of cooking class designed to turn the clock back. I’m ready to share ALL of my hacks for keeping our bodies young. Make a few simple modifications and see astounding results.

Join me and make 2018, YOUR year to shine. Register HERE or send an email to

Food the Secret Fountain of Youth Workshop- Friday, January 19th 11:00-2:00 Let’s young up in 2018, it’s easier than you think! The key to staying young is keeping inflammation down in the body and the latest research supports the notion that gut health plays a huge roll in doing just that.   In the super fun class, participants will learn how to choose foods that support anti-aging. EAT WELL AND LOOK YOUNGER! In addition, I’ll share all my secrets for staying youthful including; moving your body, stretching, moves to kick start a sluggish metabolism and keeping your gut working, so wear clothing you can move in. The food fun begins with fantastic options to jump start your day. Mouth watering grass fed cow Yogurt and Berries and a fabulous Veggie Omelet so packed with flavor you won’t miss the bacon!  We’ll top that breakfast with my favorite anti aging condiment, zesty Homemade Salsa.  6 Bean Soup topped with grass fed cheese and avocado will become a family favorite.  Another fabulous weeknight meal is Garlic Chicken with Quinoa and Turmeric served with a marvelous Spinach Salad good enough to be a main course.  We will prepare a yogurt and flaxseed Crusted Salmon that is out of this world served with Marinated and Roasted Asparagus.  Almond Butter with pears, apples, and bananas make the perfect afternoon snack.  Have you heard?  Pickled anything is good for you so we will pickle my favorite veggies to snack or top everything!  Eating well means being satisfied so we need a little sweet, Honey Banana Oat Cookie Bites and my favorite Chocolate Shards topped with goodness will finish us up.  Class Fee $65.00signature3 no block


You’re Invited

You’re Invited. Two little words that spark a thrill to my core!


And when you walk up to a door like this, you know it is going to be a real treat.

We were invited for dinner at the Cloutier’s on December 1st to mark the beginning of the holiday season and oh what fun we had!

Our hostess, Vonda, is an absolutely amazing decorator with so much creativity and vision.  Everywhere I turned there were charming vignettes of holiday goodness to enjoy.


Vonda allowed me to photograph her Christmas decorations and I am pleased to report that I will be sharing all the cuteness with you next year. There will be lots of tips and stories and plenty of time to inspire you in your own homes.


For this post, I am focusing on the table that laid the foundation for a lovely evening of food, wine and fabulous company.  Many of you are preparing to set your holiday tables now, so it’s the perfect time to share this creative table with you.

Red and gold glass ornaments, hung from the low light fixture, centered on the table, set a festive tone.  The table itself is a treasure to the family; it was hand made by a well known McKinney craftsman that passed away several years ago so PLEASE use a coaster!


The adorable place settings began with a gold glass charger as the base.  The next two layers, a coveted set of toile Christmas dishes in the most perfect shade of bordeaux.  The salad plate is topped with a berry wreath making the ideal resting place for a special goodie.  The enormous chocolate bon bon name tags are sure to awaken the child in each of Vonda’s guests for the season.  When I got home with mine, I tore into it with reckless abandon!


I simply adore the poetry napkins at the place settings.  Each one has a different quote and gives guests lots to talk about as hosts put the final touches on plates to be served. The napkins can be found in McKinney at Ettiene Market.


Many of the items to create the centerpiece were things collected to decorate her oldest daughters winter themed wedding last year. Repurposing these sentimental objects is such a special touch.  To make your own, gather an assortment of sugared greenery, pinecones and mercury glass. Arrange them casually in the center of the table to craft an elongated arrangement.


Vonda loves to add tall sugar cones to her decoration.  Her mother used these in their Christmas decorations when she was a child and it reminds her of home.


I love that the table sets a fantastic tone for an evening with friends.  Just enough to let you know its going to be a great evening but not too much to keep you from relaxing.


This is a picture of Vonda and I going to a birthday party recently. One of the the things I love about our time together is that we are totally in the moment, the downside, photos are often skipped or forgotten. The first on my New Year’s resolution list…take MORE photos in 2018!

I hope you enjoyed being invited to the Cloutiers table today! I would love to hear your top tips for setting a beautiful table for your friends and family!

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Gift Boxes From the Kitchen


When planning my 13th annual Gifts From the Kitchen class this year, the words bento boxes kept coming to my head. Collecting an assortment of goods and packing them artfully in boxes seemed like a good plan.

I bought festive gift boxes at the craft store along with crinkle paper shred and of course lots of Mason jars to stuff with goodies.


Creating a recipe for Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix, was the first step. The jars were filled with the chocolaty goodness and a “Got Milk?” tag was added.  On the back of the tags are the instructions for use. Next, old fashioned peppermint sticks were dipped into white chocolate and dusted with Christmas sprinkles.


To give the boxes some whimsy, I decorated marshmallows to look like snowmen.


SnowBall Cookies rounded out the edible assortment.  Each package was tied  with my HoHoHo From the Fangio’s ribbon.


Add a holiday dish towel, some festive straws and you are done!

   Making the Relax-Bath Boxes was a fun project too!



Creating charming gift boxes is fun and easy.  I hope you will give it a try this season!

Join me in 2018 for cooking classes, new titles just posted.

Hurry several are already sold OUT!signature3 no block








Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix

3 ½ cups sugar

2 cups unsweetened cocoa extra dark

10 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate chopped

1 tablespoon salt

Mix all ingredients well in an airtight container.  When ready to serve, add 2 tablespoons mix to 1 cup warmed whole milk.

Snowball Cookies Everyone’s Favorite!


Christmas cookies inspire such joy. I remember as a child baking with my mother.  The holidays were such fun because we had so many goodies in the house, it was hard to choose what to sample. The smell of baking cookies takes me right back to childhood.


If you want to feel like a kid again too, bake up a batch of these darling treats.  They are salty, sweet, buttery, bites of goodness. Enjoy them yourself or give them as a gift.


I love to place edible treats in special containers for a gifts.  It’s like an extra sweet surprise.


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Snowball Cookies

1 cup butter softened

1 2/3 cup powdered sugar divided

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup finely ground pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a medium bowl cream butter and 2/3 cup powdered sugar, add vanilla.  Stir in the flour, salt and pecans and mix well. Form 1 inch balls of cookie dough using a melon scoop.  Place balls on a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cookies cool for about 5 minutes and roll them in powdered sugar.  When cookies are completely cooled roll them in the last of the sugar and store in zip lock.

Tune into Good Morning Texas, WFAA Channel 8, Tuesday!


Are you ready for Christmas?  I simply cannot believe it will be here in 2 short weeks.  Are you like me, still wondering what to gift the special people in your world?

Tune into Good Morning Texas, WFAA Channel 8, on Tuesday, December 12th at 9:00 am  to see me demonstrating LIVE No Cook, holiday gifts from the kitchen.  I will offer up inspiration to help you take care of all those last minute gifts!

I’m closed up in my kitchen workshop, santa hat and all, getting ready to dazzle you tomorrow.  I’ll show you some simple kitchen ideas, sure to make your mouth water AND festive packaging  you can craft in minutes. To see my festive Ho Ho jars, you will have to tune in!

Below is a sneak peek at the recipes for tomorrow.signature3 no block








Marinated Mozzarella

1 pound fresh mozzarella cut into 1 inch cubes or use small mozzarella balls

¾ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 clove garlic sliced

2 tablespoons fresh herbs chopped such as rosemary and thyme

½ teaspoon black pepper corns

Dash or red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients in a glass jar and marinate over night or up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Jalapeno Vodka

2 cups vodka

1 large jalapeno pepper

Score the pepper 5 or 6 times from stem to end being careful not to cut all the way through to the seeds. Pour vodka into a clean jar or container, add pepper.  Shake 2-3 times a day for 1 week.

Remove pepper or leave it in for more intense flavor, and pour vodka into a bottle for storage.

Vanilla Vodka

2 cups vodka

1-2 vanilla pods

Pour vodka into a clean jar or container, add vanilla pods.  Shake 2-3 times a day for 1 week. Pour the vodka and pods into a bottle for storage.

Spiced Rum

750 ml bottle gold rum

1 vanilla pod

1 cinnamon stick

1 point star anise

2 cloves

1 piece all spice

2 strips orange zest

Place all aromatic ingredients into the bottle of rum.  Let steep for 24 hours shaking occasionally.

Burger Spice Blend

2 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon dry mustard

2 tablespoon onion powder

2 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon dried basil

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container.


Mexican Rub/Taco Seasoning

¼ cup chili powder

2 tablespoons sea salt

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon cumin

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients and store in an airtight container. 


Cranberry Walnut Goat Cheese Spread

12 ounces fresh goat cheese at room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

½ cup chopped dried cranberries

½ cup chopped walnuts

Pinch salt

Mix all ingredients and pack in small jars for gift giving.  Store the goat cheese spread in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

The Perfect Gift~Table for Two

Table for Two is the perfect holiday gift for that hard-to-buy for someone on your Christmas list this year. My friend Audrey Friedman of French Vintage Homes, scours the Brocante markets all over France to bring you these very special boxes.

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The beautiful gift boxes are filled with one-of-a-kind French antiques.  Exactly enough to set a table for two!  The perfect number for a quiet, romantic dinner. Of course to set a table for more, buy in sets of two for a delightfully eclectic table!


I got to thinking about what to make for my husband on our new Table for Two, and so I thought I would share the menu with you!

We will start with a green salad packed full of fruit and nuts, next up, stuffed Chicken Roulade with a White Wine Veloute.  The chicken will be served on a glorious bed of Luxe Potatoes.  For dessert I will simply serve a pear with honey and a few almonds.  Sounds like the perfect feast for two to me!

To get your own Table for Two or to order one for your friends and family CLICK HERE.

Au revoir for now Lorie

Fig and Seed Salad for Two

2 cups spring greens

4 dried figs chopped into cubes

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

1 ounce fresh chevre


2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 shallot finely chopped

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper

To prepare dressing place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.  Assemble salad by tossing greens in the bottom of a salad bowl.  Add remaining ingredients.  Top with dressing and serve.

Chicken Roulade with White Wine Veloute 

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon butter

1 medium shallot thinly sliced

1/2 cup mushrooms thinly slices

1 garlic clove pressed

1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach drained and firmly packed

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

pinch fresh thyme

1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley chopped

Salt and Pepper


1 ¼ cups chicken stock

¼ cup white wine

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper

To prepare chicken, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter in a chef’s pan and cook mushrooms until they are brown, about 5 minutes.  Add shallots, garlic, thyme and parsley to the pan and cook until shallots are clear about 3 minutes.  Remove pan from heat and flake spinach into the pan toss well and add parmesan.  Prepare chicken breasts by making a slit in each breast length wise to make a larger flat piece of chicken.  Place ¼ of the filling in the center of each breast and roll up.  Secure with tooth picks and salt and pepper each breast.  Repeat with remaining breast and place them in a glass baking dish and into the oven for 35-45 minutes.  To prepare sauce, warm the stock in the microwave for 1 minute.  In a small saucepan melt the butter, add flour and cook stirring constantly until it has a golden color about 4 minutes.  Slowly whisk in the warm stock until it is all incorporated.  Add white wine and cook until sauce begins to boil and is thick, season with salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and serve sauce over chicken roulade.

Golden Luxe Potatoes

1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper

Place potatoes in a medium sauce pan, cover with water and put on a burner set to medium high heat. Add 1 teaspoon salt to water when it is boiling and cook until tender.  In small chef’s pan heat butter until melted, continue to cook over medium heat until it begins to brown.  Mash potatoes with cream and butter and add salt and pepper to taste.

Holiday Decorating Obsession

I have always loved glass Christmas ornaments.  I remember as a child, how I looked forward to opening the few boxes of glass ornaments in bright festive colors we had for our tree.  They had wonderful patterns made of glitter in coordinating colors and when carefully placed on the tree in front of the lights they sparkled endlessly.

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When my daughter was very small, I began to transition our tree of homespun ornaments, to glass.  I will always remember that one Christmas when the tree fell over in the middle of the night breaking almost everything.  Needless to say, there were a few tears shed. After that, my husband began to anchor the top of the tree to the top of the window seal with clear fishing line.  These days the tree bases are so much better so our tree stays steady adorned with the fragile ornaments.

Enjoying these beautiful works of art does not need to be limited to the tree.  I like to use them in collections all over the house. This is an assortment including tiny birds that rests in my powder room.


Using glass cloches is a fantastic way to give importance to an otherwise plain object but when you fill the glass shell  with an assortment of ornaments, magic happens.  I just love this deer, he looks so peaceful.


Punch is not something I typically serve at my house but this silver plate punch bowl set atop my wine barrel lazy Susan stuffed to the brim with red and gold ornaments is a showstopper.


Or a small little silver plate bowl with a few final treasures.


Happy decorating!

Au revoir for now!  Lorie

A Cookie Exchange Party with Texasliving


I opened my mailbox and look what was inside…


My fresh copy of Texasliving!


I was invited by the editor of Texasliving to write an article on how to host a cookie exchange party.  If you plan to have some friends over for holiday cheer this year, now is the time to get the snowball rolling!

I have copied the article below to make it easy to read AND below you will also find the recipe for my delicious Cookie Martini and my no fail Sturdy Sugar Cookie recipe.

Enjoy and Au revoir for now! Lorie

Host the Merriest of Cookie Exchanges!

Hosting a cookie exchange party is a fantastic way to have friends and neighbors for a few hours of festive fun. Entertaining with a theme lets you narrow the focus to organize a fabulous event, without a lot of effort.  When you bring cookies and friends together good things happen!

Follow a few simple steps and you will be on your way to the perfect cookie exchange for a sweet time had by all.


Be a smart cookie, and secure the date.  This is a busy time of year, so to ensure a good turnout, send invitations 3 weeks early and lock your guests down.

Themed invitations are an excellent way to generate excitement and boost party attendance.  There are a multitude of printable options available on the web.  Feeling creative?  Bake a batch of cookies to hand deliver to guests along with their paper invitation.  For mailed invitations, think about adding a pinch of cookie sprinkles like confetti inside each card before mailing.

Be sure to include all of the normal party details, in addition, tell your guests to bring 2 dozen of their favorite cookies to share at the party.

Let’s Party

Elaborate party set up with trays of food and loads decorations are wonderful if you have the time and resources, otherwise, keep it simple.  Do plan to have at least a few savory tidbits to balance the sweets.

A beverage station allows party goers to serve themselves and is a huge time saver for the host.  A coffee and tea station work well for a cookie party.  If cocktails are more your style, look for cookie inspired recipes on line to carry the motif forward.  Mix drinks in advance and serve them from a decanter or pitcher to make party time a breeze and don’t forget to give your glasses a sprinkle rim!

Prepare a cookie table in advance. Furnish serving platters, jars or cake stands to display the baked goods, for an inviting table arrangement.  Prepare place cards to detail the cookie flavors.

Cookie Party Games

The BEST Cookie Contest! Organize a BEST cookie contest for an added layer of fun. Conduct the competition by cutting bite sized pieces of each cookie for the guests to taste.  Prepare ballots calling for the top 3 choices.  When the votes are tallied, give your BEST cookie winners a small prize such as cookie sprinkles, a pretty mixing bowl or holiday cookie cookbook.

Deck the Cookies Instead of providing a cookie of your own for the exchange, set up a decorating station.  Bake plain sugar cookies in a variety of shapes.  Make frosting in several colors and place it in piping bags or better yet, purchase decorating frosting ready to go.  Buy a few small holiday candies and sprinkles for more embellishing fun.  Provide pictures of decorated cookies for inspiration, you can copy these from cookbooks or download on line. 

Games and Grins Fill a jar with tiny store bought cookies and have a “guess how many are in the jar” contest.  The winner gets to take all the leftover cookies!

Goodies To Go

Supply guests with a container to pack and take their shared confections. Purchase paper cookie boxes or think outside the box.  Look for pails, tins, even a clay pot lined with tissue paper is a marvelous vessel to stuff with cookies to be taken home and enjoyed. 

Host with the Most

Keep a few additional things in mind for hosting a terrific event.  Bake several dozen extra cookies just in case you need a few more.

As your friends RSVP, ask for their cookie recipe and organize a packet for each guest. Or think about a themed party favor, like an oven mitt, a cookie cutter or even a cute holiday dishtowel.

Most of all don’t crumble under the pressure of hosting; remember, if you are relaxed, your guests will be too.  So keep calm and cookie on!

Cupcake Martini


Cupcake Martini


2 parts vanilla vodka

1 part Amaretto

1 part whole milk

2 parts club soda


Vanilla cake frosting


To garnish glasses, pour sprinkles into a shallow dish.  Rub the edge of each glass with a small amount of frosting, press glass rims into the plate with the sprinkles. Shake all cocktail ingredients with ice and strain into prepared martini glasses.


Sturdy Sugar Cookie

1 cup butter

4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

In a large bowl mix dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer until mixture is pale and fluffy.  Continue to beat and add eggs one at a time.  Next, add extracts.  Add dry ingredients slowly until combined. Separate dough into 2 gallon zip locks.  Flatten dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Turn dough out on to a floured surface and roll out dough to 1/8 inch thickness.  Cut out shapes and bake on greased baking sheet for 13-15 minutes.


Brunch is BACK Baby!

Have you heard? Brunch is back as one of this years hottest food trends and it’s taking on a whole new vibe.


For many years, Sunday brunch has had a special place in our hearts.  A lovely assortment of savory and sweet delicacies to choose from.  But have you noticed a whole new crowd assembling at restaurants and patios all over downtown and uptown at 11:00 am on Friday, Saturday…really any day of the week?


People gathering with friends to vacate their lives for a while; sunglasses on, sipping a sensational concoction…life is pretty sweet huh!  I think part of the draw is the classic mimosa.  Let’s face it everything seems a little roser after a glass filled with nectar and bubbles.

Brunch is one of the best ways to entertain family and friends for the holidays. Simple set up, plenty of make ahead dishes packed with fresh flavors and perhaps the best attribute, the party’s over by 1:00pm. That lets you turn your attention to other holiday activities or to take a nap.

Join me for Brunch is BACK, a one day workshop where we’ll taste the sweet life.  We will craft and enjoy a Bubble Bar while we cook and taste scrumptious dishes perfect for holiday entertaining.  OH and the Pear Tart, WILL be a work of ART! There are only a few seats left at the table! Email orcall 214 551 9630

Au revoir for now,  Lorie

Brunch is BACK Workshop- Friday, December 8th from 10:30-2:00  Join me for a day in the kitchen you will not soon forget!  Brunching is a wonderful way to entertain over the holiday season.  Imagine yourself armed with amazing recipes to serve visiting family and friends through the holidays and beyond.   We will craft our brunch and enjoy it together family style for a lovely break to the holiday season.  Plus take home 4 lightly flavored Lavender Honey scones to be baked or frozen for a yummy family treat.  We will start the fun by creating a bubble bar to be enjoyed during the class.  Tangy Orange Pomegranate Salad is lovely on any holiday table.  Eggs for brunch will take the shape of a Soufflé and our Bacon Parmesan Soufflés will be rise to amazing heights.  Pecan Bourbon Glazed Pork Loin will be tender and juicy and the centerpiece of the feast.  Parmesan Crusted Potatoes are outstanding nuggets of delight.  Asparagus cooked to perfection served with classic French Hollandaise sauce.  We will look to Provence for their Christmas Sweet bread called Fougasse that will be irresistible with more bubbles.  For dessert we will craft a gorgeous Vanilla Pear Tart. Class Fee $79.00


“My love affair with France began as a five-year-old.  My parents took a 3-week European holiday and returned home forever changed.  The stories of faraway places were undoubtedly romanticized; nonetheless, I could not wait for my chance to go.

Years later, as a young fashion professional, I finally had my chance for a European adventure.  I boarded a plane headed for France.  Paris is intoxicating and I fell hard.  It was love at first sight, sound and taste.  My heart swelled and my mind drifted to thoughts of a second visit.

Having children changed everything, including my career.  I desperately wanted to be present for the day-to-day routine of motherhood.  With my mind and heart focused on my precious babies, it was easy to put my fashion career in the rear view mirror.

As a stay at home mom, my focus shifted.  Cooking, entertaining, gardening, and decorating came naturally to me.  As I worked to perfect these gifts, my spirit sparked.

I decided to share my passion for food with others and began teaching cooking classes all over Texas.  Soon, I was writing for local publications and even had a radio show.  All of the work orbited around one thing: connecting families and friends Around the Table.  This is how my first blog was created.

As life evolved, so did my career.  Traveling to Paris became a yearly adventure.  I studied in the finest cooking schools the city had to offer, and enjoyed bringing French recipes and techniques to classes taught in Texas.

Over the years, I grew to love Paris more and more. I knew Paris like the back of my hand, becoming intimately acquainted with world-renowned eateries and up-and-coming establishments. I discovered the finest places to shop for cheese, wine, bread, and any food related item your heart could desire.  Scouring the city for premier kitchen accoutrements and Brocante became an exciting sport for me.  Having the opportunity to bring these found treasures home to become part of daily life made my heart sing.

My curiosity for this country and its people was piqued with each visit.  Food is one of the greatest influences on any culture; without a doubt, the French love their food.  With an up-close view of the way the French eat and live, I soon garnered a deep respect for French tradition and its culture.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a true-blue American with a deep love for my country.  There is just something special about France; it’s where my soul comes alive.

People often ask me how A Taste of Paris™ became a reality. My life changed forever, one day, while I was teaching a French Pastries class.

A longtime student piped up and asked, “Lorie…when are you going to take us to Paris?” I stopped in my tracks. My mouth fell open. As I mulled the question over, I noticed a deep stirring in my gut.  That night, I had a dream in vivid color about how to share my love of food and France with others. The next morning, I bounded out of bed and eagerly shared the burgeoning idea with my husband.  With his encouragement, a good business plan, and a lot of prayer, I took a leap of faith.  The best part? Nine remarkable women lined up and leapt with me, and A Taste of Paris™ was born.

I knew A Taste of Paris™ would have a personal impact on travelers.  Immersing yourself in the French way of life, and exploring this country through its food, alters your point of view forever.  There was no doubt in my mind that people would be transformed through this experience, and I was eager to offer that gift to them. The part of this experience I did not expect was the gift these incredible travelers would give me in return.  Each of their stores is a gift to my heart. You see, life stories tend to tumble out while breaking bread in a foreign country; tales of overcoming adversity, and moments of triumph-great and small.  All of these intimate moments, the meeting of hearts around a table, have become invaluable treasures to me.

Whether you are trying a new delicacy, comforting a sorrow, tasting another culture, or celebrating a triumph, food brings people together.  This is the truth in my life, like a glittering thread that runs from the beginning, binding me to the people I love.  When food is shared around a table, magical things happen.  A Taste of Paris™ is a wonderful opportunity for me to share this truth with you.”