On Meeting Jude Law

UK Edition in Context

Okay. Now that I have your undivided attention, let me tell you a bit about my trip to London last week, for the official launch of the British edition of my cookbook.

Said launch was hosted at the French Institute in South Kensington, and catered for by my publisher herself, who prepared a few recipes from the book — the Zucchini Carpaccio, the Tomato, Chorizo, and Pistachio Bread, the Thyme and Hazelnut Matchsticks, and for dessert, the Chocolate Raspberry Cake and the Very Chocolate Cookies.

Aside from an incident with a bottle of Champagne that could barely contain its excitement but, fortunately, did not maim anyone, the event went very well. I signed books, gave a talk, answered questions, signed more books, chatted, mingled, and when all was said and done and eaten, went out to dinner with my publisher, her husband, and her very charming and very funny in a very British way stepfather.

Other engagements on my London agenda included an interview with Paul Kent for the Oneword radio show FoodStuff, and the recording of a segment for UKTV’s Market Kitchen show with Matthew Fort and Tom Parker-Bowles (the segment will air on July 4th at 8pm). This was especially fun, for I got to hang out on the set for a little while, observing the ballet of producers and cameramen and food stylists, admiring the shocking pink socks that one of the hosts was wearing that day, but forgetting to ask him whence they came.

The experience was quite different from my first television appearance in the US — I felt a lot more comfortable knowing that it was a pre-recorded show as opposed to a live one, and that I would have time to actually form full sentences — but one thing that was common to both was the relaxed, joyful atmosphere on the set, and the kindness of the staff. Clearly, the all-day proximity of good food makes people happy and sweet.

When it comes to London eats, I relied heavily on my friend Michele‘s excellent taste to steer me in the right direction: while it is early yet in our friendship for me to trust her with my life, my taste buds were obviously in good hands. She and I had a splendid dinner at Moro, and I went on to have a fine sandwich at Gail’s Bread the next day, and a rejoicing vegan lunch* at Vitaorganic the day after that.

On the final day of my stay, the hours I had to kill before I caught the train back to Paris were spent at the National Portrait Gallery, which is equipped with a handy cloakroom where one can leave one’s heavy-as-a-dead-donkey suitcase**. I am normally more keen on modern or contemporary art, but I was unexpectedly moved by the Tudor and Elizabethan portraits, which is more than I can say, I’m afraid, about the group of teenaged schoolgirls that milled about, looking so unendurably bored they seemed about ready to rip their own eyes out, except it might have ruined their makeup.

“But what about Jude Law?” I hear a few of you clamoring in the back. And you’re right, I need to address that, otherwise you might feel cheated by the title of this post, and I would never forgive myself: the Jude encounter occurred at the French Institute, where he was invited on the same night as I was***.

I should start this off by saying that I’m not big on celebrities and never have been, although I did have a thing for Jean-Jacques Goldman in my early teens, but because I read women’s magazines like there is no other kind, I know that Jude Law usually holds a very honorable place in their Sexiest Men Alive rankings. I will admit however that I tend to confuse him with Christopher Eccleston for no apparent reason other than that he was the lead actor in a very good movie called Jude.

But here we were, Jude Law and I, in the same building at the same time, and the cultural attaché suggested I sign a copy of my book for him. “No problem,” I thought, until I uncapped my pen and started to wonder: what in the world does one write in a book that one signs for a movie star, especially when it is a cookbook and that one has no idea whether said movie star is remotely interested in food and/or cooking? I scratched my head and came up with something that will remain between Jude and me, unless you happen to see the book lying around somewhere in his house next time you drop by for a beer.

Someone was to bring him the book, along with a plate of food from our buffet, but then the attaché came back and said, “Perhaps you would like to bring it to him yourself?” And so I did: I went down the stairs to the little room where he and his entourage were waiting, I was let in by a stern and broad-shouldered man — I noticed the earpiece and thought, oh, wow, an actual bodyguard! — and there he was, Jude Law, as advertised, standing in the middle of the room.

And well, we shook hands, I said a few words about the book, he had a taste of the chocolate and raspberry cake, and we talked for a minute, which allowed me to find out that Jude Law does, indeed, cook, that he likes to make soups and stews and cakes (chocolate is, astoundingly enough, his favorite), that he and his daughter make a mean apple crumble with the apples from his apple tree, and that his recipe for the crumble topping involves butter, flour, and brown sugar — a collection of facts that allows me to think that he is, all in all, a completely normal person, though with a brighter smile than average. We shook hands again, I snuck past the bodyguard and out the door, and went back upstairs.

And thus, dear friends, ends the story of how I met Jude Law — not quite tabloid material, but I can think of at least one person who’s quite happy it’s not.


* If you think this is the funniest oxymoron ever, you really should give Vitaorganic a go.

** “What do you have in there?” the cab driver asked after I’d warned him that it was very heavy. “It’s full of books,” I explained. “Full of box?” he asked. “No, full of books.” Apparently, I don’t pronounce “books” in a manner that is comprehensible to the British ear.

*** The exact reason is unclear to me: I was told it had to do with his samurai movie, but neither I nor IMDb know anything about a samurai movie with Jude Law, so the question remains open.

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  • Jennifer M

    Last week, I was looking for another French cooking author at the bookstore and ended up buying with your book instead. It’s lovely! And some of my fave recipes from your blog are in there. I love it!!

  • Clotilde,
    I just wanted to tell you that I’m enjoying your book so much. I’ve never made so many recipes in one cook book before. Thank you!

  • I’m so jalous, I love Jude Law but don’t tell David :-)
    Looks like you had a very good time.

  • kiki

    Oooh my !

  • How hilarious! I love this post, and I’m so happy the book tour is going well. It’s a beautiful book, and you enjoy every success and more.

  • Christophe

    Apres recherche, en fait, il etait pas la-bas pour un de ses films mais pour presenter un film classique des annees 60, d’Alain Delon, “Le Samourai”.

  • Well finally we hear the story about your encounter with Jude Law! Alisa and I were beginning to wonder if you had run off with him.
    I’m so pleased to hear that you liked all your meals while in London. I’ll have to dig up some more recommendations before your next trip back. I better get eating ;)

  • Shuna

    Hi Clotilde

    I came to your signing last week at The French Insitute and enjoyed it very much. Thank you for coming to London!

    It was lovely to meet you, albeit so briefly. When you signed my book I had planned to say a few complimentary words but suddenly got all tongue tied – how silly of me.

    And the champagne incident was indeed very amusing!

  • You are a lucky, lucky girl, and your luck just keeps getting better! Congratulations on the book! And, of course, on a memorable meeting with Jude.

  • Nathalie Valmary

    Hi Clothilde,
    Your publisher seems to be quite incredible, your book tour is so uncommon for french authors! Good luck for your book, I’ll afford it soon.

  • Wow! I want to meet celebrities.

  • Delightful story, and good to hear that your book tour is such a success. You earned it!
    I treasure all the signed books I collected over the years. One of my favorites is Yan Martell’s “Life of Pi”, which he signed with “May your lifeboat overcome every storm!”
    I wish you many more dedicated readers and customers!

  • How exciting – meeting Jude Law! All his yumminess aside, I think I had more excitement last month because A) I got to meet you at your NYC book signing and B) just the week before I got to meet the utterly delicious Anderson Cooper.

  • I love your Jude Law story – how cool! I really wanted to make it in to London for the book signing but events conspired against me – I’m glad you had a good time in the UK and found lots of good things to eat while you were here!

  • Wow-I would let Jude Law make me apple crumble any old time he wanted.

  • Was Jude cuter in the flesh than he is on the silver screen? The only “famous” person I met this weekend was a local Boston news anchor, but I thought she was much prettier in person than on TV!
    Congratulations on the British edition. I hope your cookbook gets translated into many, many languages and we get to hear of more of your travels around the globe. I love living vicariously through you.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to give us all these juicy, interesting details!

  • When I met him at my place of work with his wife Sadie Frost, he was pretty quiet, didn’t say much and seemed a little moody, or as if he and his wife just had an argument.

  • Alisa

    It’s true…Michele and I had concocted a really good scenario…ask me about it ;) !


  • How refreshing that he makes apple crumble with apples from his own apple tree, and that that mega-watt smile does not seem to hamper his cooking abilities.

  • GINA

    Sigh. What a lovely story. The sigh will be placed in much better context when I say that Jude was likely at the institute as part of his more recently wrapped movie, My Blueberry Nights. He plays a chef. I, meanwhile, play a superfan.

    Clotilde, I have been enjoying your site for nearly two years now. I’m in L.A. and I’ve been wondering–is your book only available online? Everytime I go into a Barnes & Noble I look for it and to no avail. Not that it’s that difficult to purchase something online, it’s just that I always think of it when I’m out.

    Also, I’ve been combing your archives and those peanut carrot muffins? DELICIOUS.

  • Hmmm…did he have any nannies around? Oh nevertheless, the man is a hunk and totally forgivable.

  • Candy Schultz

    Christopher Eccleston made an excellent Dr. Who for awhile as well.Jude was an excellent, but extraordinarily sad, film. Bon appetit.

  • Congratulations on your book tour Clotilde! I so wanted to see you at Cody’s in Berkeley but I got stuck in the lab. Jude Law sounds exciting–if you ever do a cooking show/special, he should be a guest star.

  • Joan

    excited Champagne! a publisher’s stepfather who translates Russian poetry! Jude Law meeting Clotilde! on and joyously on it goes…there simply HAS to be a film :-)

  • Nassim

    Pas mal Jude Law mais Maxence c’est le plus beau!

  • Such a shame I missed your evening at l’Institut français! Never mind Jude Law, it’s your book and recipes I would have liked to experience. But I’ll booking my place for September straight away!

  • Rachel

    Now whenever I see Jude Law I’ll imagine him making apple crumble! But I agree with the other posters… HE was the lucky one, getting to meet you!

  • est

    I am so jealous!!

  • Salut,je viens de ouvrir mon nouveau blog, je fais des dessins des restaurants que je visite,
    et des gourmandises que je découvre à Paris et ailleurs, ça me plairais beaucoup si tu passes me voire à bocapequeña(http://pititigurmet.blogspot.com)

  • Felicitacion! with the book being finally out on the racks and all the media buzz going on!! Way to go

  • I’d just like to say that the cookies were made by Dinah and Maudie Powell-Tuck – I thought they may be the straw which broke the camel’s back, and very good they were too! The launch was eventful, lively, and like no other – more coming in September so watch the web site for information.

    Thanks for coming to London, Clotilde!

  • So cool! How many people can say that they got an apple crumb recipe from Jude Law?

  • What a great story! Looking forward to your Jude Law Apple Crumble recipe.

  • The Thyme and Hazelnut Matchsticks were particulalry delicious after Champagne fountain.

  • Clotilde!
    juste pour te dire qu’en dehors de tes recettes superbes, c’est toujours un veritable plaisir que de te lire, une veritable petite ‘escapade’ par rapport au temps present tant ton ecriture est drole et captivante. Ce post JudeLawien est excellent.

  • je ne te savais pas aussi bien occupée, braco et sorry pour la demande de dédicaces… Par contre as tu prévu un voyage aux US pour présenter ton livre ?

  • Je suis toujours aussi impressionnée par ton parcours.
    Réussir à faire de sa passion gourmande un métier.
    Félicitations et longue vie à Chocolate & Zucchini

  • Jude Law seems like a celebrity I wouldn’t hate meeting. By the way, I can’t wait to read your book.

  • Dan Dx

    Where to buy your book in France?
    Through Amazon, both US and UK, shipping to France is worth a fortune!

  • Christophe – Thanks for solving the mystery!

    Nassim – On est bien d’accord. :)

    Catheryn – Thanks for the precision: it’s important to give credit where credit is due, especially when it comes to chocolate cookies!

    Dan – Both the US and the UK editions are available from Amazon.fr, and English-language bookstores should carry it, too.

  • Farah

    I just got your book yesterday from amazon. I’m a Bay Area native and totally love your California references. I’ve also lived in France. I’m truly excited to try out one of your recipes. How fun to meet Jude Law!

  • John-Christopher Ward

    Perhaps you have trouble in London pronouncing ‘books’– I am impressed that you use ‘whence’ correctly. Cheers

  • Lucky you, Clotilde (and lucky Jude, of course!)

  • How exciting! When I was at the library yesterday, guess what I picked up? Yep, your book! I’ve been a long time reader of your blog was thrilled to be able to read through the book. My husband was leafing through it this morning and commented “There are some great recipes in here, you should go get this one”.

    Yippeee!! Approval to add just one more cookbook to my collection! I think your’s will be cookbook #326

  • Mackenzie

    If it makes you feel better, Clotilde, I never thought Jude Law was much to write home about, either.

  • Shanti,shanti

    Hi Clotilde!
    Just wanted to let you know that your book has made it to Japan (via Amazon). I’m an expat here who is always searching for good non-Japanese recipes since I can eat Japanese food any time I want. I love your blog and was so excited about the book and haven’t been disappointed. My husband and I have already made four things from it and we’ve only had it for two weeks! Thank you, thank you!

  • Rebecca

    bonjour! hope you enjoyed your dinner at ze kitchen galerie ze other night, i adore that place (see JALOUSE magazine story this month, I mention them) great to meet you, funny that i too had a recent run-in with monsieur jude law and just wrote about it on my own blog: lafleurdeparis.blogspot.com, definitely a different experience but thought you might enjoy as une parisienne making it in NY from une new yorkaise à paris! Rebecca

  • Cool story!!! I saw your book at W.H. Smith in Paris and thumbed through it… it looks FANTASTIC and I am sure to pick up a copy when I go back there this week… Congrats to you!!! I have been a reader of your blog for a while now!!! — Leesa

  • Congratulations with the UK book tour. I sometimes watch the market kitchen program. I wonder when yours is aired? Please let us know! And on the Jude front – I would be so star-struck, I wouldn’t be able to say a syllable out, I reckon, especially when it is a v. handsome man like him, I won’t be able to look at his face…!

    Anyway, shame you couldn’t hop over to my market! Maybe next time?

  • gahhh! I admire your self-containedness faced with the Law that is Jude.

    I too have a tendency to work Christopher Eccleston into the picture when I think of Jude, though I would never actually mistake the one for the other. Such is the slipperiness and jouissance of language.

  • I must say, I’m embarassed that, this having been my favourite food blog for a very long time, I just now realised that there is a comment feature. Oh, well. I must say I found the Jude Law story hillarious, and though I’m really not a fan of London (at least not in comparison to Paris or New York), it sounds like you had a lovely time.

  • Oh Clotilde, you do write in such an entertaining manner! I now am in possession of your book, and love your photos (and the food!)…congrats on your much-deserved success. Feel free to drop by my kitchen if you have a dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free moment….! Pigx

  • Lovely anecdote and I’m delighted to hear that Jude not only cooks, he appreciates you. Gawd, a man who looks like that and knows how to turn on an oven … I’m sure you can hear my sighs all the way across the ocean.

  • Wow! Awesome story. I have to admit the Jude Law thing totally drew me in.


  • Claudine

    It seems your details of when your tv appearance on UKTV in ‘market kitchen’ is not correct – you wrote in your July blog saturday 4th july at 8pm. I checked the web site and various schedules…. it is not on at 8pm. Pls help by letting us know when… on ne veut pas vous manquer!!! Merci et au plaisir de vous voir a la tele anglaise.

  • Claudine – Thank you very much for your interest, but if you check the date of the post, you’ll see that the segment did air on July 4, but in 2007!

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