Hi! I am Jessica Bride and I am the person behind BelleAnnee.com.
I am a displaced Southern girl currently making her way on the mean streets of Notting Hill, London. I started BelleAnneé because I have a story to tell and I tell it through food. Sometimes my stories are short. Sometimes they are funny. Sometimes they are sad. Sometimes they are not even about food but I throw in a recipe anyway. Actually, sometimes I write about travel and those are really, really not about food.
But let’s start from the beginning.
I grew up splitting my time between the metropolis of New Orleans and the quiet country roads of St. Gabriel, Louisiana and because of that I have a split personality. I wear cowboy boots and Jimmy Choos. I shop at Gap and Harvey Nichols. I love to travel, and I love to come home. I love to bake pies and I love to eat at 8-seat sushi bars that have a 6-month waiting list. It all makes up the package that is me.
My background is the restaurant business where I worked for 17 years before I had to give it up because I was pregnant with my first son. I miss the restaurant business but I would much rather have my son, Teddy, so I have reconciled that. I am a native New Orleanian although over 40 years I have been fortunate to call a number of other places home too: St. Gabriel, Destin, New York, London, Switzerland and Breckenridge but New Orleans always beckons me back. New Orleanians are like that. While living in New York I attended culinary school, and while in London and Switzerland I studied wine. (Not a joke).
My husband, Nick, and I met and fell in love in our early 30s on the promise of an alternative lifestyle. We both quit our jobs, eloped in Hawaii, had our first son shortly thereafter, bought and gut renovated a 168-year old house in New Orleans and split our time between it and the mountains where we spent spent 4 ski seasons. He also refused to cut his hair for almost 9 months once which isn’t a big deal in some circles but for an Oxford educated son of a judge, this was fairly big news. And big hair. Along the way we had another child, adopted a dog and I started this fabulous scholarship with Chef John Besh and his impresario, Emery Whalen.
Then Nick and I had our third child and life sort of tapped us on the shoulder and said, “Hey, have you seen what college costs these days? And groceries? And stuff?” So he went back to work and I tried to fill the void left by his absence with writing. Sometimes I wish I was the one who was working in an office – I miss having coworkers, and wearing a suit – but then I decide to dedicate an entire day to making a birthday cake and planning our next vacation and I thank him for letting me be a mom. And a writer.
We left our beautifully renovated home in New Orleans and moved back to London in the fall of 2015 because he wanted to move back to the UK and I love him so I bought a ticket to sit next to him on the plane. I do love London but I miss New Orleans so much it aches. Sometimes, if I’m really missing it, my writing gets kind of sad and sappy. Don’t worry, I’ll snap out of it.
Oh, we also travel a kind of ridiculous amount. Our youngest daughter will chalk up her 39th flight the day she turns 2. I have a slight addiction (because addictions can be slight, can’t they?) to discovering new places. I’ve got a hippie in my heart who wants to visit Third World Countries and show my children the beauty of the greater world and the importance of being a citizen of that world. I have a lifetime travel partner who likes high thread count sheets though so I compromise. Fortunately there is plenty to cover in this middle ground so I have very little to complain about. Some of my favorite destinations from 2015 are Havana, Marfa and Venice.
I hope you like what you find here. I know that I am supposed to write for the love of it but it really does matter to me that you like it. Try the recipes. Let me know what you think. Drop me a line and just say “hi”. Ask me questions about my journeys. Talk to me about your dinner plans. Don’t forget that I’m Southern through and through and I’ll basically talk to you all day long.
Thank you for being here. Without you, I wouldn’t be.