This chef turned her trailer suppers into one of the most sought-after restaurants | Secret Table

The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine, started as Erin French’s path to rescue herself. Now the chef receives more than 20,000 requests to dine there each year. Subscribe to The Washington Post on YouTube:

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Comment (105)

  1. I would love to ask Sergio Herman, Andreas Caminada, Daniel Humm, Peter Goossens or Thomas Keller if the reason they get up every day is to "beat" their colleagues. That is a disgustingly arrogant way of viewing a facet of the culinary world that this person knows nothing about. At the very most this comes off like some kind of woke gimmick. It feels far more pretentious than even Louis XV in Monaco. I wish Erin nothing but success but hope she realizes that the power of food is bigger than her identity driven kitchen. This is bigger than you Erin, someone as bright as you should get that. Dig. Deeper.

  2. I love her resilience and grit. She gets knocked down and keeps getting up. Not afraid of hard work. Not bitter about her past, sees it as part of the journey that led her here. I wish this view was more common and encouraged in homes, schools, media, entertainment…

  3. Seems like a place where the food isn't the most important thing, but the company and sharing a positive experience. Really made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  4. Great Idea — Reservations by postcards only…. love it! Family style so it deals like a dinner party! (started as a supper club and evolved — just wonderful!).

  5. As a New Englander, Maine always has a special appeal and now Freedom, ME is a real destination. I like how there is only one menu and everyone is served the same meal & eats communally like a dinner party. You had me at the asparagus soup and the tiny turkey salt dishes used as butter oats. I am really happy for the success of this restaurant owner, I would love to read her book

  6. Wow. Women are not competitive by nature, ( Ya I know, some are) but enjoy group think and companionship. Aren't we all worn out with the competitive games we play in life. Always out doing each other, very masculine energy. The tide is turning soon I hope.

  7. The perfect restaurant. All those films with cooks competing under enormous pressure, all the stress and shouting and even people being mean – it all totally puts me off the food and eating. This is how a restaurant should be run. Not just food for the body but also the soul.

  8. She doesn't know what she's doing! The only thing she knows is charging people $200/person! She has no formal training! She taught herself watching cooking shows.
    Everything she says, she's lying!

  9. Mega respect for this gal, who knows how to survive and thrive and never say "I'm done." She's just begun, again! Kudos! And Girl, you inspire me, I have tears now too!

  10. I was the head cook for a small, all-women catering business that felt a lot like Erin's kitchen. We were like family. No yelling, no big egos, everyone doing their part, everyone in sync. It was the best 20 years of my life. Erin is living my dream. She's terrific!

  11. By, of, and for fancy white people.
    And no mention of her class. She lost everything!? Except her parent's money and her lifelong position of being upper class. And no training from those wrong, dirty men? Her father trained her from childhood to be a chef/owner! This is a lady of extreme privelege, set up for opportunity from birth. Excellent marketing! This is the "bootstrap story" propaganda of rich people. This CRAP is why many see themselves as "temporarily embarrassed millionaires" as Twain put it, rather than a proletariat of the world.

  12. I was born and raised in Maine . I left in 1999 and cooked in Florida over the next 18 years returning to Maine in 2017. I ‘ve still been cooking since my return. I wish I had known of this lovely place in Freedom sooner! I really want to go there!!

  13. I loved the ice cream in the littlr green hens! Could have been butter but I adored that small kindness. You dont find that anywhere. Love,love,love that uniqueness….postcard? On the way….this is why they love you. Just one reason. God bless you in your journey. I will share this with my family…

  14. I'm more inspired by her tenacity to push through adversity to arrive where she's at today mentally. I hope for my friend the same resolve to push through adversity and be content.

    But her food, place and ideas are amazing!! She's an original. Hope outside noise doesn't change her vision for this fine idea of a "restaurant."

  15. Only a true Mainer uses the term 'dooryard'. Love that she has found so much success, but even more so, she makes sure that those around her are a part of that success. When Covid hit, and she was forced to remain closed for an entire season, she single handedly raised $325,000 for a local food bank in just 9 days, simply by asking those who were requesting reservations at the Lost Kitchen to make a donation. This in a county of fewer than 40,000 residents and a median income well below the state average.

  16. I've read the book. Erin is who she is because of her father and the diner he purchased and the responsibilities he gave her though he is portrayed as so abusive. Read the book. The man she married appeared to be an alcoholic from the start and 20 years her senior but she went with it. She was always able to return to her family after setbacks, including her pregnancy. You learn a lot about how the media spins things when you can contrast it with the book.

  17. I love that she went back to her hometown. Her marketing strategy is brilliant–anything rare, anything special and in limited editions. The whole concept of a lottery reservation through post cards is Ingenius. The time and the care she takes into crafting seasonal and local flavors into what is essentially a work of art is not only beautiful to look at but a delightful surprise to the tastebuds. I don't know what her educational background is as far as running a business or culinary arts are concerned, but she has tapped into a very special and exclusive kind of niche very much like the French Laundry. If you make it…they will come. If you make it well, they will want it. And if you make it exclusive, they will want it more.

  18. Oh good a program that keeps reminding us about Covid. I love how they wear their masks outdoors and inside empty homes. This show is actually offensive. If this woman is this stupid why would anybody go there?


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