Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Scoop issue 09/29/2008

Who hasn’t dreamed of whipping up an unforgettable meal worthy of a top chef with minimal effort?

Thanks to Sophie Dudemaine, dishes such as garlic-roasted Cornish hens with cherry sauce and caramelized orange tartlets become child’s play. The granddaughter and daughter of restaurant owners, the blonde and energetic French chef was born in a cooking pot, at least figuratively, and it was always obvious to her that she would follow in her family’s footsteps.

This story first appeared in the September 29, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Best known for her bestseller Sophie’s Cakes, Dudemaine also runs a country inn in Normandy, where she gives cooking classes. The author’s latest tome, Ducasse Made Simple by Sophie, comes out in the U.S. in early October and was inspired by master chef Alain Ducasse’s classic Grand Livre de Cuisine, first released in 2001. Dudemaine developed and simplified 100 Ducasse recipes for home cooking, employing shortcuts and simple vocabulary to demystify gourmet cooking. And once the megachef tasted her simplified recipes, he gave her carte blanche to democratize his cuisine.

The 43-year-old chef admits she had to adapt some of the recipes for the American market. For example, readers won’t find any foie gras or giblet recipes, and rabbit meat is replaced by herbed duck for ravioli. And if dishes don’t quite work out or instructions are confusing, neophyte chefs can always give Dudemaine a ring: She includes her phone number in all her books.

Dudemaine, who has a TV show project in the U.S., also is working on her next books: Sophie’s Soups is scheduled to come out in France in October, and Sophie’s Sweet and Savory Loafs will appear next year.

And when she isn’t working on a book or a TV show, Dudemaine, who wanted to be a veterinarian when she was young, entertains in her Normandy guest house, where she also gives cooking classes. Meanwhile, she’s looking forward to traveling America to promote the launch of her book—at least for the food. “I love T-bone steaks and barbecue,” she says.