A funny thing happened when a cowgirl from Texas got the bleus--er, blues--in Paris, France: She stumbled upon a life-altering career change.

When native North Texan Ellise Pierce made the transatlantic transfer in 2007, it was for a man. A freelance writer, she figured she’d pick up work there. What she didn’t plan on was developing a serious case of Tex-Mex homesickness.

Jarred by her inability to communicate (she knew only un peu French), which resulted in some serious dressing-downs by a few unkind strangers, she realized the one place where things made the most sense: the kitchen.

Voilà, the food blog Cowgirl Chef was born.

Her recipe for a happy life: Add starting a catering company to teaching cooking classes. Mix well. Sprinkle in daily adventures to Parisian markets, boulangeries and stores. Let it all marinate until you develop innovative recipes that merge French ingredients with hallmark Texas dishes and land a book deal.

Serve Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking with a French Accent. Expect a hungry crowd: Pierce’s book is in its third printing after just being released in May.

On heavy rotation in our kitchen: My Big Fat French Salad, a hearty mix of roasted potatoes, bacon, goat cheese, cherry tomatoes and pieces of toasted baguette.

It’s the kind of food that’ll turn any frown upside down.

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