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The French Cycling Bicycle Gourmet - French Country Travel Life Film Maker and Author. Your non-snobby Gourmet Guide to food, wine travel and Lifestyle Adventure!

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French Cuisine’s Feminine Touch

He lived by the highway. And under it’s influence, dreamt of becoming an auto mechanic. But destiny and genes had another plan for Jacques Pic. – Taking over the Family business.

His daughter shared her Father’s destiny. After testing the waters of the business World, Anne Sophie Pic returned to take her place in the family business. At the stove.

Now the only Female French Chef awarded three Michelin stars since Mere Brazier in 1933, Anne Sophie continues the culinary dynasty that is “Maison Pic.”

Although virtually ever famous (Male) French Chef will be the first to admit his cuisine is based on “Cuisine Grandmere”(Grandma’s cookin’) – ironically you can count the number of high profile Female French Chefs on one hand. And still have three fingers left.

The “Pic-story” begins in 1889, when Sophie Pic opened l’Auberge du Pin in the village of Saint Peray. Wowing the locals with her sautéed rabbit and black pudding. Son Andre inherited her place at the stove, earning his third Michelin star in 1934. Relocating to the “Big Smoke” – the city of Valence in 1936, next to a major highway(national 7) understandably increased Andre’s client base. His third Michelin star, lost during the war, was regained in 1973, as the next in line, son Jacques, forsaking his dream of carburetors and spark plugs, donned the Pic apron. His integration of new culinary trends, particularly sauces and fish, put “Maison Pic” on the map Internationally.


Today, it’s his daughter, Anne Sophie at the helm of the good ship Pic. Seconded by her Husband, handling the business affairs. Anne Sophie’s cooking style/philosophy has, as you would expect, much in common with the Fathers of French Cuisine. Particularly Careme and Escoffier with their emphasis on enhancing natural flavours. Not smothering them with rich sauces. Accordingly, Anne Sophie is heavy on the veg. and fish – light on the meat.

In fact, light, fresh and simple would be the three best adjectives to describe her cuisine. Always a delicate balance of seasonings, subtle enhancements and superb presentation. The mark of a true professional. Making it all seem simple, easy and natural.

While cooking is indeed an art –  selling cooking is indeed a business. And if you’re in that business – what better “poster girl” than a three star chef? And so, logically, Maison Pic is well and truly “au courant” with all aspects of 21st Century marketing. In addition to Hotel/Restaurant Pic, there is also Bistro Pic(“Le 7 – after national 7), Seminar Facilities Pic, Cooking School Pic, and supremely important in this age of internet commerce and “branding” – estore Pic.

Anne Sophie is also an Author. Having written “Au Nom du Pere.” Equally a tribute to her late Father, a History of the Pic family and her journey within it.


While her quiet, reserved manner gives the impression of shyness, Anne Sophie is, to use that abnoxious Americanism – a “people person.” Because her “job satisfaction” comes from making people happy.

Naturally, Anne Sophie has incredible Stamina and Vision, as every Chef must – but with a humility that belies her considerable achievements. When those who don’t know her ask her job Anne Sophie replies – “I’m the cook.”


What are ya thinkin’?

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11 Responses to “French Cuisine’s Feminine Touch”

  1. brenda allworth says:

    Well done! Nice to see the real originators of al cuisine get some much deserved attention.

  2. david provanti says:

    Good to see you’re balancing out your cuisine coverage. Can we look forward to more of the same?

  3. tanya crawford says:

    Loved this post! Fantastic to see a woman so young with such accomplisments. Give us more of this kind of reporting!

  4. allison montford says:

    First of all – great post. Second….an observation ….in most of your stories about the French, especially where food/wine is involved, it’s almost always a “family business.” Good to see that tradition continuing….as it’s just the opposite here in…(as you have said frequently) “the overdeveloped World.”

  5. trevor halston says:

    as hollywood would summarize your post : “shy girl cooks good!”

  6. andy flynn says:

    A great post on a truly innovative French Chef. I don’t think she’ll be looking like her Male counterparts 20 years on.

  7. felicity adnersdotter says:

    Once again proof that all great cuisine starts at the feminine side of the kitchen. Thnaks for the much needed re-statement of the obvious.

  8. ambrose jackson says:

    congratulations for once again concentrating on the history of the subject, and not filling your post with cliche luxury restaurant photos and por handouts.

  9. joe bob barhill says:

    we could use someone lie anne sophie down here in Austin…..not that we don’t have good food already……..but, hey, a little authentic continental variety would sure go a long way!

  10. pam wilson says:

    Your post only misses one thing – a few recepies from Anne Sophie.
    Comming soon?

  11. dominic trinano says:

    Can’t wait to visit her restaurant!

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