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Anne Willan has had an extraordinary career in the culinary arts and is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent authorities on French cooking. She founded École de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris in 1975.
Inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame for her “body of work” in May of 2013, Anne has more than 50 years of experience as a teacher, cookbook author, culinary historian, and food columnist. She has written more than 30 books, including the influential La Varenne Pratique and the 17-volume, photo-illustrated Look and Cook series, showcased in her 26-part PBS program. Anne’s reach, with books published in 17 countries and translated into two dozen languages, makes her one of the most internationally renowned cooking authorities today. Much in demand as a teacher, Anne has given cooking demonstrations and lectures throughout North America as well as in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Chile, and has appeared often on The Martha Stewart Show. Anne’s book, The Cookbook Library: The Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook (University of California Press, 2012), has received many accolades, including the prestigious Gourmand Hall of Fame Award and the Jane Grigson Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Anne’s recent induction into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame for her “body of work” puts her among greats such as Julia Child, Elizabeth David, and others (less than 20 altogether). Anne’s memoir, One Soufflé at a Time: A Memoir with Recipes, was released by St. Martin’s Press in Fall, 2013, and won the prize for Best Literary Food Writing from the International Association of Culinary Professionals in 2014. Her most current title, Secrets of the La Varenne Kitchen, was published by Spring House Press in early 2015.
Born in Newcastle, England, Anne received her master’s degree from Cambridge University, then studied and taught cooking in London and Paris before moving to the United States and becoming a citizen in 1973. Early in her career Anne was an associate editor of Gourmet and food editor of the Washington Star newspaper. She wrote food columns for the Los Angeles Times and Tribune Media Services International from 1994-2010. Anne was elected to the Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America in 1986 and was honored in 1995 both as Grande Dame of Les Dames d’Escoffier International and with the Silver Spoon Award from Food Arts magazine. In 1999, the International Association of Culinary Professionals recognized Anne with its prestigious Lifetime Achievement award, and in Australia she was elected to the World Food Media Hall of Fame. In 2000, Bon Appétit named Anne Teacher of the Year and in 2000 the Philadelphia Book and Cook Festival honored her with their Toque Award.
Anne is currently an honorary trustee of the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ Culinary Trust and serves on the Advisory Council of The Julia Child Foundation, as well as on the Advisory Board of Zester Daily, a website reporting on the culture of food and drink around the world. She was President of the IACP from 1990-1991 and Treasurer of the IACP Foundation from 1999-2003.
Anne and her husband Mark now have five grandchildren and divide their time between Santa Monica, California and France.