Georgeanne Brennan is an award-winning cookbook author, journalist, educator and entrepreneur who is nationally recognized for her work. Her expertise ranges from farming and agriculture to history and food lore.
A year ago in September, 2014 she launched her on-line store, La Vie Rustic – Sustainable Living in the French Style, www.lavierustic.com which reflects her long-time love affair with France and especially Provence, where she has a home.
Georgeanne grew up in southern California and was educated at San Diego State University, the University of Aix-Marseille in Provence, and the University of California, San Diego, where she earned a Master’s Degree in History. In 1970 she and her husband returned to southern France with their small daughter (their son was born there) and bought an old farmhouse where they made and sold goat cheese, and raised and sold feeder pigs for two years before taking teaching jobs in Northern California, although they returned to France at least once a year thereafter. She chronicled this story in her memoir, A Pig in Provence.
In 1982 Georgeanne and a partner, Charlotte Glenn, started Le Marché Seeds, a pioneering specialty vegetable seed company that focused on old-fashioned, open-pollinated varieties from France, Italy, Holland, England, Japan and China, as well as American heirlooms. With customers all over the United States, including emerging organic market growers, Le Marché and Georgeanne and Charlotte were featured in such magazines as Family Circle, Metropolitan Home, Organic Gardening and Vogue, as well as in the food and garden sections of newspapers across the nation. They were the first to introduce such now-mainstream vegetables as Lacinato kale, Chioggia beet, and multiple varieties of radicchio.
Out of these activities came her first book, The New American Vegetable Cookbook (1984) co-authored with Isaac Cronin and Charlotte Glenn. Since then, she has written Potager: Fresh Garden Cooking in the French Style, which has been called a modern classic by Patricia Wells, published in both French and German. It was also a finalist for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award, as was her next book, The Glass Pantry; Preserving Flavors. Shortly thereafter she won the award for Best International Cookbook for her cookbook memoir, The Food and Flavors of Haute Provence. Her book, Aperitif, won a Julia Child Award the same year. She has written numerous cookbooks for Williams-Sonoma, including The Essentials of French Cooking, A Salad a Day, and Cheese Obsessions.
In 2006, she brought to life Dr. Seuss’s quirky take on food with The Dr Seuss Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook (Random House 2006).
Her memoir, A Pig in Provence (Chronicle Books, 2007; paperback Harcourt 2008, Kindle 2012) was published to much acclaim, and has been published in Dutch, Polish, and Korean.
She works close to home as well, co-authoring with Ann M. Evans, The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook, (Mirabelle Press, 2012) which won multiple awards, and Cooking with California Food in K-12 Schools, (Center for Ecoliteracy, 2011) which is fully downloadable and free in both Spanish and English on the Center’s website.
In addition to her books Brennan writes regular features for The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper’s food section and has contributed to Fine Cooking, Bon Appétit, Cooking Pleasures, The New York Times, Garden Design, Metropolitan Home, Horticulture, and Organic Gardening, and is a regular contributor and columnist for Edible Marin and Wine Country. She has been featured in Food and Wine, Gourmet, and Sunset magazines, among others and has appeared on Oprah.com, Good Morning America, and other shows.
In 2000, Georgeanne opened her own cooking vacation school in a restored 17th century convent located in a medieval village in Haute Provence, not far from her own small farmhouse. The week long experience for small groups features gathering and cooking from the kitchen garden – the time-honored cuisine du potager – as well as shopping in village markets and preparing the equally venerable cuisine du marché. Seasonal activities included mushroom hunting, gathering wild herbs, visits to olive oil mills and local cheesemakers, as well as visits to her favorite restaurants, antique markets and nearby historic sites. In 2006 she discontinued this program in favor of something closer to home: ‘Provence in California’ – culinary weekends at her small farm in Northern California, where participants gathered and cooked from her garden, which she continued until 2012.
Her consulting firm, Evans & Brennan, was the principal investigator for “Are California Kids Eating California Foods?” (Center for Ecoliteracy, 2012, fully downloadable on the Center’s website), an inquiry into 12 California crops and 6 school districts.
Georgeanne has been a featured speaker on Provence at the Culinary Academy of America at Greystone, St Helena, CA and at COPIA: The American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts and a spokesperson for the California Tree Fruit Agreement. Most recently she was a speaker at “Healthy foods, Healthy Kids” an invitational conference presented by Culinary Academy of America and held at their site in San Antonio, Texas.
She also has been a guest chef on Crystal Cruises, a frequent guest at the Chef’s Holidays at Yosemite, Whistler School of Cooking in Vancouver, B.C., and at Rancho la Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, as well as a guest teacher at cooking schools nationwide. Additionally, she has taught food and memoir writing at the University of California at Berkeley and Davis Extensions, and at a writing retreat in Provence.
Active in the Slow Food movement for many years, she has served as a jury member for Slow Food International Award, a member of Slow Food’s American Ark Selection Committee, and is the former co-leader of the Slow Food Yolo Chapter.
She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier.
Georgeanne lives with her husband on their small farm in Northern California. They have four children.