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A Delicious Read: How to Boil an Egg

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In Paris, daily trips to the boulangerie for fresh baguettes and pastries are a way of life. Rose Bakery (46 Rue des Martyrs; 33-1/42-82-12-80) , tucked away in the Ninth Arrondissement, offers a fresh, flavorful and decidedly British take on the French institution. The bakery, where the line for cakes, tarts, quiche and salads often snakes out the door, is spare and understated, with the focus trained squarely on the seasonal, organic menu.

Rose Carrarini, the English chef who founded and runs Rose Bakery with her husband, already authored one cookbook, Breakfast, Lunch, Tea (Phaidon, 2006), which features recipes for the small meals that have become Rose Bakery staples. Her most recent effort, How to Boil an Egg (Phaidon; $35), is full of descriptions and beautiful paintings of the many egg-based dishes she makes daily. Carrarini chatted with us over coffee at her eponymous bakery about food, Paris and what comes next.

Q: Whenever I come to Rose Bakery there is always a line out the door. What is it specifically that people love so much, that keeps them coming back?
A:
I think it’s simply the flavors and the trust they have that we have good-quality ingredients. The French always appreciate quality.

Q: Do you think the recipes in How to Boil an Egg can be duplicated in a home kitchen?
A:
Yes, absolutely. It starts with the basics, like how to scramble eggs. I’ve learned from serving them in the restaurant—everyone likes eggs done differently. Everyone has their own special way. I’m always trying to make it simple. Even for me at home, I don’t spend a lot of time cooking. I’m not one of those chefs that spend hours in the kitchen. I really like to have things done within ten minutes. So this is a reflection on that—the way I actually cook.

Q: The design of the book is beautiful—all the painted illustrations. Where did that idea come from?
A:
Well, I didn’t want photographs because every single cookbook is just photographs and recipes. I wanted something a bit unique. It had to represent the recipe, and the only way to do that was to find painters who deal in detail. So my idea was to look at botanical painters who paint flowers and vegetables, and luckily we found the perfect artist. The whole thing made it very special. I didn’t want an ordinary looking cookbook.

Q: What’s next for you and Rose Bakery?
A:
There are three Rose Bakeries in Paris, soon to be a fourth. We’ll be opening in the Bon Marché. It will be a tearoom, and that’s my dream come true. We have some in Tokyo, which are doing very well, and one in Seoul as well. And at the end of the year we’ll be opening in New York. It’s going to be a completely frightening thing, but yes, it’s in the cards. New York, about ten or 15 years ago, inspired me to start cooking, so I feel a bit humble going back. It’s exciting.

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