Melissa Clark '94 Releases New Cookbook 'Dinner in French'

BY Audrey Deng, March 13, 2020

Alumna Melissa Clark ’94 recently published a cookbook titled Dinner in French. This book contains classic French recipes as well as innovations and variations of classics based on Clark’s experience growing up in Brooklyn and summering in France with her family.

In an excerpt of the book published with the New York Times, Clark writes, “My family’s true connection to the French was through our shared obsession with the food — learning about it, exploring it and preparing lavish feasts with it. When we weren’t cooking, we were planning the next meal, chasing the daily markets from small town to even smaller town, reveling in the figs, the sausages, the incredible cheeses we couldn’t get at home.”

Clark’s parents had spent their summer vacations traveling around France with Melissa and her sister in tow. Penguin Random House writes, “Near to her heart, France is where Melissa’s family learned to cook and eat. And as her own culinary identity blossomed, so too did her understanding of why French food is beloved by Americans.”

Clark has written over thirty-eight books on cooking; she is also the author of The Last Course, Comfort in an Instant, Dinner in an Instant, and Dinner.

Publishers Weekly writes, “[w]hether they are classic French staples such as Nicoise salad and scalloped potato gratin, or inspired twists on the classics such as wine-braised chicken with orange and olives or crème fraîche caramels, each recipe is a hit. Some of her other original, French-inspired creations include cornmeal and harissa soufflé; roasted eggplant with herbs and hot honey; and burrata with brown butter, lemon, and cherries.”

Dinner in French has been receiving rave reviews so far. “Melissa Clark’s contemporary eye is just what the chef ordered,” writes the restaurateur and bestselling cookbook author Yotam Ottolenghi.

Author of When in France Lauren Collins describes Clark’s book as “[t]he French canon, but make it Brooklyn...the invigorating, mouthwatering best of two worlds that Melissa Clark brings together like no one else.”

Clark, who had graduated from Barnard in 1990 and the School of the Arts in 1994, is currently a staff writer for the New York Times where she writes the popular column “A Good Appetite,” and stars in a weekly complementary video series. The winner of James Beard and IACP Awards, she is a regular on Today and NPR (The Splendid Table, The Leonard Lopate Show).

Dinner in French is available for purchase online or in your local bookstore.