Acclaimed restaurateur, Erin French, is doing her only UK book launch event at The Mainstreet Trading Company in Melrose

She is the owner of The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine

Published 9th Jun 2021
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

Melrose is a very long way from Maine.

However, US-based Erin French, chef and author of acclaimed new memoir, Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen, published by Aurum, will be doing her first and only UK event at an independent bookshop, cafe and deli, The Mainstreet Trading Co, in the Scottish Borders.

On June 16, from 6.30-7.30pm, she will be discussing her book online, with tickets £6, or £20 including a copy.

As well as 100 recipes, this hardback covers her childhood, growing up on a farm in Freedom, Maine, as well as her difficult youth, including the break up of a marriage, teenage pregnancy and an addiction to prescription painkillers.

Owner of The Mainstreet Trading Co, Rosamund de la Hey, managed to secure the author.

“Her story reminded me a lot of Tara Westover and her memoir, Educated. While their writing styles differ, the story of a clever young woman fighting her way out of a dead end town through grit, tenacity and sheer talent, was familiar, as was their generosity of spirit”, says de la Hey. “Although as a reader we know of Erin’s ultimate success with restaurant The Lost Kitchen, the book reads at times like a thriller with both edge and heart. I also hugely admire the strong community she has clearly built in her business  – I just wish I could secure a seat in the restaurant!”

The Mainstreet Trading Company, Melrose

French has a busy schedule, as she is also gearing up for discussions around a future film release and filming her television series.

Also, you might say that her Freedom-based 40-cover restaurant, The Lost Kitchen, which reopens later this month, is rather popular.

It made it onto the list of Time magazine’s World’s Greatest Places in 2018. The staff are all women, and for your reservation to be considered, you have to send them a postcard (they received 20,000 last year) and wait to see if you’re accepted. That’s despite their location, in a small town, with a population of 722.

As de la Hey says; “There is also an interesting parallel for us at The Mainstreet Trading Company. I think we share the attitude of ‘if you build it..’”.

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Gaby Soutar is a lifestyle editor at The Scotsman. She has been reviewing restaurants for The Scotsman Magazine since 2007 and edits the weekly food pages.
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