Madeleine Kamman discovered her love of food at an early age with her grandmother's, mother's, and great-aunts' cooking at her family home in France. The wonderful foods of Madeleine's early childhood disappeared during World War II, but were rediscovered with new appreciation and more developed taste buds by a teenage Madeleine. Her first culinary position was as a dinning room and scullery worker at Michelin starred Hotel des Voyagerus, Chateau-la-Valliere in the Loire. After studying modern languages at the Sorbonne, working for Swiss Air, and taking classes at Le Cordon Bleu, she moved to America with her new husband in 1960.
Relocation to the other side of the Atlantic may have changed the scenery and available foods, but not Madeleine's French cooking standards of using the freshest foods and the proper techniques. Never compromising on her cooking, she used the bounty of American ingredients and melded them with her homeland's techniques. A whole new culinary world was born: a French chef cooking and enjoying such dishes as Corn Grits with Okra and Squashed Tomatoes.
Madeleine's teaching career began as a chef-instructor of classic French cuisine and pastry techniques at the Adult Education School in Philadelphia in 1962. She then opened her own school, Modern Gourmet in Massachusetts in 1971. Chez La Mere Madeleine, the restaurant she ran with her Modern Gourmet students in Boston from 1975 to 1979, was considered by many, including Paul Bocuse, to be one of the finest in the country, receiving four stars from the Mobil Guide and five stars from Anthony Spinazzola, restaurant reviewer for the Boston Globe.
Her many honors and awards include a Doctorate Honoris Causa from Johnson & Wales University, a Round Table for Women 1984 Pace Setter Award, citations from the Senate of California and the city of San Francisco, and a knighthood in the French "Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" given by the French Minister of Culture in 1991. She is the author of seven cookbooks: The Making of a Cook, Dinner Against the Clock, When French Women Cook, In Madeleine's Kitchen, Madeleine Cooks (companion to her PBS TV series which ran from 1984 through 1991), Madeleine Kamman's SAVOIE, and The New Making of a Cook.
Madeleine Kamman has been cooking for over 50 years and teaching for over 36. Today she is the co-founder, sole instructor, and curriculum and course director of The School for American Chefs at Beringer Vineyards in California's Napa Valley, teaching chefs with 2 to 15 years of experience. She is currently writing a poultry book to be published by Morrow in 1998, and is also a career consultant to the new generation of chefs.