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Patricia Wells Interview
Sally interviewed Patricia Wells in Paris in November of 1995. They were both attending the International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference, where Ms. Wells was a speaker.
Patricia Wells is an American journalist and author who has lived in Paris since 1980. She is the restaurant critic for the International Herald Tribune and the author of five books: The Food Lover's Guide to Paris, The Food Lover's Guide to France, Bistro Cooking, Simply French, Patricia Wells' Trattoria and At Home with Patricia Wells -- Cooking in Proven┴e. She is also the only foreigner and the only woman ever to be a restaurant critic for a French publication (L'Express). Ms. Wells also contributes to Travel and Leisure and Food and Wine magazines.
Each year, Ms. Wells opens her 18th century Proven┴al home to a small number of guests eager to learn about the food, wine and culture of Proven┴e. The five-day, English language program is limited to eight participants and includes cooking sessions and guided visits to markets, vineyards, shops and local restaurants.
Sally: Your last Food Lover's Guide to Paris was published in 1993. Will you update it again soon?
Patricia: I have no plans at the present time to update the last edition.
Sally: We read about the decline of caf╚s in Paris -- is all this true?
Patricia: The number of licensed caf╚s has declined but there are still plenty of open caf╚s. Really, very little has changed.
Sally: Are the fast food companies taking over?
Patricia: McDonalds and other fast food establishments are everywhere in France.
Sally: Name three food experiences visitors to Paris should not miss.
Patricia: I recommend sitting at an outdoor caf╚ to order a sandwich and beer or coffee and observe the people. Also, on a busy day, go to P┘ilane, one of the city's finest bakeries, or to Alleosse, a top Parisian cheese shop, to experience how the people of Paris really eat.
Sally: Are there as many creperies in Paris as there used to be?
Patricia: Most of the city's creperies are concentrated in the Montparnese area. When the people from Brittany first came to Paris many years ago, the first train stop was in Montparnese so this is where they settled. Crepes are still sold on the streets at open stands.
Sally: What is your favorite food emporium?
Patricia: I like the markets at Au Bon Marche and at Galeries Lafayette as the grand magasins (department stores) have been a Paris tradition for many years. Of course, the foods at Fauchon and Hediard are delightful to see.
Sally: Your name and book title have been associated with Patricia Unterman's recent book Food Lover's Guide to San Francisco. Did you endorse or sponsor that book?
Patricia: I have no association with the San Francisco book.
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