… à Tartes Kluger!  For the past two weeks I’ve been learning the ropes at the lovely Tartes Kluger.  I want to welcome you as warmly as they’ve welcomed me.

Catherine Kluger, a former lawyer, opened her shop in 2009 to rave reviews.  After all, who doesn’t love a good tarte?

Every day I walk through the winding streets of the Marais to work with Mikael and Hotman (NB:  yes, this is his real name.)  And every day, they both find patient ways to explain to me how their recipes work.

Mikael making quiches

Today as I was making this season’s specialty, fig tartes…

I was thinking about what a humbling experience this is.  I have so much respect for chefs… but now I have even more respect for chefs who take time to teach foreign stagiaires their craft.  Every day I do at least one thing wrong.  At least!  But Mikael and Hotman are such good teachers that they just explain what needs to change and then the next day, they challenge me to get it right.

So even as we bumble our way through my beginner French, I think there is something to be said for people simply being kind.  While every day poses a new challenge for me, I know that I am their challenge.  But they take it all in with a smile.  We find time to joke and laugh.  And they’ve even tortured me by speaking backwards French (for example, my name becomes Elle-i-Dan.)

So next time you’re walking through the Marais, stop in to Tartes Kluger… the doors are open every day.  You can feast on quiches…

and one of my favorites:  tarte au chocolat…

If you hear giggling coming from the kitchen then you’ll know I’m there.  So please be sure to say “bonjour!”