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Anyone Heard of Dione Lucas' "Gourmet Cooking School Cookbook"?

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  • Funwithfood Mar 10, 2006 06:47 PM
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I picked up a 1964 copyrighted cookbook by Dione Lucas. She was a Cordon Bleu Paris grad who opened a cooking school in London, then opened The Egg Basket restaurant in NY and taught at her own "famous Gourmet Cooking School".

This is the first time her name has come to my attention--anyone familiar with her?

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    fai jay (fai jackson)

    She was a very big name in the 60s along with Julia. I haven't heard her name in quite a while, so she either retired or no longer with us.

    She also was very influential and helped to make us into cooking maniacs.

    Google her--I bet you'll get some interesting stuff.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

      Wow, really interesting stuff--Wow, how she stayed under the radar? (at least in SoCal).

    2. She's famous in my family -- my Mom had her cookbook (I just looked at it this past weekend). Thanks to Lucas we loved caesar salad, with many stains on the pages to prove we enjoyed many times!

      1. My culinary hero Paula Wolfert took six cooking lessons with Dione Lucas, as a result of which she dropped out of college and decided to devote her life to food. Thank you, Dione.

        1. Your post sent me on a house-wide search, because I would have sworn I had that cookbook. I cannot find it now, but I've had her Book of French Cooking for years. I use it to look up basic techniques and reviewing it just now I've found some old recipes (it's originally from the 1940s) that look interesting again.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jillp

            Wow - I have been trying to remember the name of the cookbook that I had for years - that's it!! I worked (temp. job) for Little, Brown & Co. for a short period of time (early '70's) & bought the Dionne Lucas Book of French Cooking back then. I began cooking with this book (and my basic Fanny Farmer paperback, too).

            I used to make her wonderful cheese tart recipe on holidays. Boy, this brings back a lot of memories!

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            fai jay (fai jackson)

            OOPS. You know how you never hear of something and then it seems everytime you turn around (well not quite) the subject comes up. My PBS channel is doing a drive with re-runs of The French Chef. Just watched the wonderful potato show and the omlet show. I love that potato show where she drops potato hash browns all over the stove while trying to flip it, and tells us not to worry because you are alone in the kitchen. I hope they do the monkfish and chicken shows. The reason for this digression is that she mentions Dionne Lucas as the Queen of omlets and adds "now sadly dead". So, of course Dionne could not have been a sixties person as I stated. I guess I remember people speaking of her and maybe even had this show in my sub conscious. So Dionne was pre Julia and started the interest in cooking French food at home.

            3 Replies
            1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

              And then there was Henri-Paul Pelliprat which some families swore by as their go to source for French and general cooking. Long since out of print you can occasionally pick up one of his books in used book stores.

              1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

                there was still a cooking school with this name in NY in the early 70s - and her book was all around, tho at that time people were starting to critique it as old fashioned french, you know, with the standard sauces.

                1. re: fai jay (fai jackson)

                  I saw those old Julia Child episodes also. I guess Dionne's was one of the 2 omelet books she showed.

                  Julia sure loves to jerk her omelet pan!

                  I also noticed, even though she looked so younger and trim, the age spots on her hands. Good bet Martha Stewart has them by now also, but would have heads rolling if they were shown on her show.

                2. fascinating thread on Dione Lucas -- my mother used to work for her in the 1950s in dione's new york restaurant (part time, like a hostess or something) and years later my mother used to remark (archly) whenever she saw julia child on tv 'well, dione was First on TV you know'.
                  My mother (now in her 90s) remembers Lucas clearly and from what I have been able to gather, Dione was not a good fit with 'coming across well' on tv; in that she had a slightly prickly personality and was a little humorless. Sadly the woman who would have been an invaluable source of all things DL was Barbara, my mother's best friend who worked for Dione in some sort of management capacity in the restaurant, she had a million funny stories about her; unfortunately I was an unappreciative teenager at the time and didn't listen closely enough (Barbara died in the late 80s)
                  We still have all mother's old Lucas cookbooks here in the kitchen, wonderful recipes...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: reddingridgeCt

                    So which do you recommend? I think I have her cooking school cookbook somewhere in my collection.

                    1. re: reddingridgeCt

                      Hello,
                      Loved your reply. My mom took me to Dione's Egg Basket restaurant when I was a little girl. I loved it! I remember having some sort of sweet whipped cream cheese type of mousse with a berry sauce poured on top. I have been unable to find this recipe to this day. Do you have it in any of her books? I'd love it if you'd post it!
                      Lydia