Getting to know Brooke @brookefaudree

Getting to know Brooke @brookefaudree

Welcome to the second feature in How We Feast and I have to begin by giving credit where credit is due because the amazingly talented woman in this feature was also the inspiration & reason I started it in the first place. 

I have been following Brooke @brookefaudree for quite some time now and while on a random scroll through my Instagram feed in the beginning of the year, I was stopped in my tracks by a photo she had posted. I shot her a quick dm to compliment said photo and long story short; we entered into a lengthy conversation that evolved into us both lamenting that she is in Minnesota and I am in Tennessee. I have found that this is often the way it goes ~ we find kindred spirits on social media but there is generally physical distance between us that makes it a challenge to do things we would meet up and do together if we were closer geographically. 

While distance still remains the overall challenge to social media friendships, I began to think about these people who inspire me and of ways to "close the gap" a little regardless of our locations. I've long held firmly to the idea that so many genuine connections are made on these platforms because we have found each other based on common interest instead of circumstance. I know so many of my in person relationships have come about due to circumstance, but there is no denying the connection & bond that is built over common interest. It is truly the foundation for 'kindred spirits' to evolve.

So without further ado, I would like to introduce you to my friend Brooke who owns a catering and events company in the Twin Cities called Quince. Aside from making & photographing food that is beyond drool worthy, Brooke also shares her deep love for France and her passion for restoring her 1890 Victorian home. Kindred spirit indeed. 

                                                                              ~ Eleanor


What led you to your career in the culinary arts and to ultimately open Quince?

My path has been a winding one. I grew up in a large family and we all cooked from a young age, but I was also very seriously studying art from the age of 6 into college. Drawing and painting was my medium of choice until I decided to start making short films in high school, leading me to work in the media arts. I interned on several feature film projects and travelled a lot, but always ended up cooking for the other crew members during my time off. Large family dinners and curating experiences have always resonated with me, it's such a centering ritual. In my early 20's, my sister asked me to help her open her dream restaurant and bakery in Minneapolis. I told her I would give her a year, never meaning to start a career in the culinary arts, but that was nine years ago! I started working as a personal chef for a few families and naturally began catering special events for my clients and their friends. I launched Quince in 2016 with a vision to create personal, intimate dining experiences that fostered hospitality, beautiful food and memorable experiences.

strawberry cake

When developing recipes & menus, what does your creative process look like?

I'm a very visual person. I often get menu ideas from a singular image that calls out to me in a particular way and I try to recreate what I like about the image and also how it makes me feel. I love old cookbooks and have a decent collection, including several that I've brought back from France. My favorite thing is cookbooks that include menus. To me, creating a menu is so much about the whole vision and feel that I want guests to experience from the moment they arrive with a small welcome cocktail to surprising them with macarons at the end of the meal. My mom also had a large cookbook collection and I used to read them like novels, always with wonderment how a list of humble ingredients could become something completely different and delightful at the end. I also think practicing what you preach is so important, especially in hospitality. My husband and I love to host beautiful dinner parties for friends and loved ones, and take a lot of pride and joy in curating our home to extend it to others. Each part of the process from beginning to end is really enjoyable for me and I always hope that shows through to guests, clients, family and friends.

dessert spread

You seem to have a deep love for France ~ what would you say is at the root of that love?

I've always been a Francophile. To me, the French sensibility embraces beauty and strives to create a life of celebrating and enjoying good and beautiful things. I love the “art for art's sake” way of viewing the world and that's very much a French way of living. Beyond that, the center of French culture really is the pursuit of a long and delightful meal. I try to spend about a month in France every year (hopefully, someday, longer than that!), and I'm always infatuated by the French sentiment around dining and curating good meals. There is always a seasonal and holistic approach to the details, ingredients and overall experience, whether searching for the best piece of cheese or a simple preparation of a tomato salad during the peak of summer. I remember one time in Brittany asking some French friends their favorite butter, unwittingly starting a heated debate and leaving with a long list of affineurs' names in barely legible French cursive. It's all about the moments and details that make life beautiful and worth savoring. I think people from all over the world continue to visit France and pursue a French way of life because the French are so good at cultivating a full life and that always starts at the table.

soup bowls

What is your favorite way to feast?

I love to host grand dinner parties with many courses, but I think my favorite way to entertain lately is to push the dining table to one wall and create a still-life-esque spread of many dishes and then let friends mingle and mull over it with wine. There's a sacramental aspect about dining that nourishes us on many levels, and a feast for the eyes is certainly a delight and an art form that I'm grateful to be able to play and work with on a daily basis. I also love collecting antique dishes and setting a beautiful table. Finding whole sets of 12 or 14 place settings has become a pursuit of mine and I love to mix and match. At the same time, making do with what you have is another joy and creative challenge as well. Several years ago, I rented a furnished apartment in Paris and immediately decided to host a dinner party. I began moving tables together, mix-matched dishes and glassware, a small side table as an extra chair. About an hour before the guests arrived, I realized that the oven wasn't functional, so I switched up the menu and made a simple stewed chicken dish. It was a humble setting and menu, but the warmth of hosting friends in Paris in an intimate space, is a memory and guiding light that I hope shines through any grand or fancy event that I create.


dessert plate

dinner party

 *all photos courtesy of @brookefaudree

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1 comment

Oh what an exquisite chat here! Loved learning from Brooke! Thank you for sharing!

Debra StipeDebra Stipe

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