Lorie Fangio, founder of A Taste of Paris, has lived in McKinney with her family for 25 years. 4 years ago, with the support of her husband and 2 children, she took a leap of faith and turned her passions - cooking and French culture - into a career.
In addition to hosting cooking workshops in McKinney, A Taste of Paris goes abroad with small group, (7-11 person) boutique culinary excursions to France with a carefully curated assortment of the very best cooking classes, teaching chefs, wine experiences, markets, museums and sightseeing all with Lorie as the guide.
Check out what Lorie has to say about France, cooking, and living in McKinney...
A Love of All Things French
Which came first - your love of cooking or your love of France?
Definitely my love of France. My parents took a European holiday when I was 5. They told many stories of the places they went but France was always the most interesting to me. I also studied classical ballet up into high school and my teacher would give us commands in French, it made quite an impression!
What advice would you give someone travelling to France for the first time?
Learn a few French words, Bonjour, Merci and s’il vous plaît make all the difference in how warmly you are greeted. As you enter a business, be sure to say Bonjour!
If you had to choose one, which is your favorite French indulgence: cheese, champagne, or chocolate?
I call these the 3 C’s! Making a choice from 3 of my favorites is difficult but I will say champagne. Champagne is such a special indulgence, when a cork is popped you know it is time for a celebration. Making champagne is such an art form too and once you have seen with your own eyes what goes into making this unique beverage, you understand the price.
Do you have a favorite French word or phrase?
Naturally, Bon Appétit!
Small Group Culinary Trips to France
What is one of your favorite memories from the organized culinary trips to France that you lead?
On my very first trip I had a lady along that always needed to find an Irish pub wherever she traveled. So here we are in Paris, all 10 of us with our eyes peeled for the Irish pub and when we found it, we all went in and ordered a beer. (see the photo below) We realized that one of the traveler's daughters would be preparing for the prom back home at that time. Several ladies went to the bartender and asked for craft supplies, they came back with all sorts of coaster, napkins, straws, tape, staplers and whatever they could find. Each of us made a “flower” corsage to celebrate the precious daughters big night. It was really a special moment. It’s the human connection that means so much to me. Life stories tend to tumble out when you are traveling together and when they do, I feel rich to the deepest part of my soul.
Tell us about an upcoming trip that has spots left.
In 2019 I will travel to Paris in April and Provence in September and for now, both trips have seats available. A Taste of Paris ™ 2019 travel will be spectacular!
- The Paris trip will have 3 cooking classes, one at Le Cordon Bleu and a French market class where we will shop with our chef and create the menu as we go. We will taste champagne, see the museums and sights and shop for culinary supplies, we will taste everything and eat in wonderful restaurants.
- In Provence we will also cook, in the home of a celebrity chef, and we will take a cooking class at a winery in the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine region, we will visit farmers and producers and taste artisanal products right out of the earth while exploring wonderful Provençal villages and markets.
Building a Business
Describe your a-ha moment at which point you knew your venture might actually become a success.
The idea to share my love of food and France with others came to me in a dream after a student asked “when are you going to take us with you to France”. I felt completely guided by my faith to start A Taste of Paris™ and I have relied on faith for each step in the process. It felt like everything before, was leading me to this. Of course I do experience fear and doubt sometimes and when I do, I just put my head down and keep working.
What sorts of challenges have you faced along the way?
The greatest challenge I have faced in this business is honing my leadership skills enough to guide 10 individuals around a city like Paris!
What advice would you give to a budding entrepreneur who wants to turn their passion into a career?
Make sure your idea is financially viable, make a good business plan and then roll up your sleeves. Starting and owning your own business is really hard work!
What are some of your favorite spots in McKinney for a bit of French culture, close to home?
On a special evening, Mark and I love to order a bottle of French sparkling wine at any local McKinney restaurant, and share what I like to call “French cocktail hour”. Everything is a ritual in France, when drinks are served they come with tasty tidbits and it’s like a party! I also like to shop for farm fresh ingredients at Patina Green and go home and craft something yummy! You might see me popping into Sharla’s Boutique to see the latest things she has imported from France.
Do you have a favorite restaurant or meal in McKinney?
I love the sea bass at Gregory’s Bistro!
You can follow Lorie at A Taste of Paris for great recipes and other French inspiration at:
Website - www.atastofparis.net
Instagram - @atasteofparis
Facebook - @atasteofparistrips
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