When Valerie Faure and her husband divorced she hadn’t worked outside the home in a number of years. Her husband’s job had taken the family around the world … in just the last two years, they had moved from Edina where they lived for 8 years back to Singapore, where they had previously lived for a long time. After a short stay in Singapore the family had just returned to Edina when the couple separated last year.
Faure had mostly been focused on family and volunteer work during their marriage. Moving around and being an expat makes finding work pretty challenging, but she had started an import/export business that grew out of her work with a non-profit. She’d shuttered that business when the family moved to Singapore (for the second time). When they returned to Edina and she was faced with a new set of circumstances she decided not to reopen it. Her new future called for new plans.
One constant theme of Faure’s life, since she was a small child in the south of France, was cooking and sharing good food. “My love for cooking started early as I watched my mother and both my grandmothers cook healthy food on a daily basis,” she says. “I always loved to witness their creations, whether everyday dinners or more festive meals.”
Faure also has a professional background in the hospitality industry. When she started looking for a new direction, a friend suggested that she should start teaching cooking classes. After considering it, she began to think that she could build a business based on her cooking and entertaining skills. That’s when Valerie’s French Kitchen was launched. “I love cooking so much, that’s it’s almost not work to me.”
Valerie’s French Kitchen offers cooking classes and personal chef services. Faure will come to your home and prepare a meal for you, or organize a dinner or cocktail party, or you can book one of her hands-on classes at ValeriesFrenchKitchen.com.
The classes can be for just one person or as many as six. If you would like, she will even do the grocery shopping—for an hourly fee. She’ll spend an hour teaching you how to make brioche or as much as four hours helping you learn how to make a more complex full meal.
And, if you just want to be on the consuming end of the deal, Faure will come to your home and cook as much as a month’s worth of dinners and store them in your refrigerator or freezer. They will be labeled with instructions for warming and serving suggestions. Clients meet with her and talk about food preferences and menus and then agree on a “cooking day.” She comes in like a French fairy godmother and cooks while you are out doing whatever you do, and then when you come home, “Voila!”
Know someone who would love to sit back and enjoy a fully-prepared gourmet meal … or someone who would love to learn how to hold the whisk with just the right amount of wrist action to get egg whites to peak? You can give them the gift of a Valerie’s French Kitchen gift certificate.
Even though Faure is French by birth, her French Kitchen also turns out some other internationally influenced cuisine. After all, she’s lived all over the world …from Africa to Asia and Austria to Edina. She says she will create a menu to suit your tastes and can help you learn how to celebrate food from just about any corner of the world.
“Cooking is done by all kinds of people,” she says. “People in different parts of the world from all kinds of backgrounds come together over a meal and enjoy each other’s company.”
Terese Reiling-Holden and a group of her friends took a cooking class with Faure and she noticed the international influences. “She’s traveled the world and has been exposed to many different cuisines,” Reiling-Holden noted.
“I highly recommend Valerie for an event in your home.”
Faure also taught cooking classes through Alliance Française. One of her students there was Lana Knopf. She had been taking classes with Faure for over a year. Knopf learned how to flambé a dish without fear and says that, in addition to being delightful and charming, Faure is a very organized instructor.
“We meet once a week. Class size varies with no more than 6. We cook together for 2 hours and take home the food we make,” Knopf says. “… Valerie creates a welcoming experience of learning at all levels. She provides beautiful fresh ingredients and simple delicious menus.”
In addition to classes and personal chef services, Faure will bring Valerie’s French Kitchen into your home to organize a seated dinner for as many as ten people or a cocktail party for as many as 50. The organization, menu planning and even the shopping can be handled by Faure—or you can do your own shopping. She doesn’t supply the wine or cocktails but everything else is taken care of. Service includes: planning, preparation, cooking, cleaning up, and instructions to serve dinner. She can also help you hire someone to serve.
Some of her most requested dinner party meals are French dishes like Beef Bourguignon (Burgundy) and duck magrets (duck breast). Also, a potato gratin side-dish called gratin dauphinoise, which is a classic French dish with lots of cream. And, for dessert, the always popular crème brûlée & chocolate profiteroles—a kind of cream puff-like cookie filled with vanilla ice cream and covered in chocolate.
After university, where she studied languages, Faure studied hotel management. She graduated from Lycée Hôtelier Lesdiguiere in Grenoble, France and worked in the hospitality industry in Europe and New York City. Her professional credentials also include a Food Safety Manager certificate (required in Minnesota for food service managers) and she is a member of the United States Personal Chef Association (USPCA). Food is a passion and joy for her, but she’s also a trained professional with a wealth of experience.
Training and experience are what the business is built on. But that’s not the thing that you notice most when you talk to her about Valerie’s French Kitchen. When she talks about food and sharing her knowledge through her classes or preparing a meal for a client, the thing that shines through is her passion and joy.