Once Upon a Tart...

Once Upon a Tart... Cover

Once Upon a Tart...

Soups, Salads, Muffins, and More

By Frank Mentesana; Jerome Audureau

Knopf, Hardcover, 9780375413162, 384pp.

Publication Date: April 22, 2003


A cookbook in the tradition of The Silver Palate and The Barefoot Contessa . . .

In New York City, famous for its food and restaurants, locals are reverential about the bakeshop and café Once Upon a Tart. For more than a decade, they have been lining up at the store mornings and afternoons, waiting patiently for their signature scones, muffins, soups, salads, sandwiches, cookies, and—of course—tarts. And pretty much since the day the café opened, patrons have been asking—sometimes begging—the proprietors for their sweet and savory recipes. Good news: the wait is over.

In Once Upon a Tart, the café’s founders and co-owners, Jerome Audureau (a New Yorker via France) and Frank Mentesana (a New Yorker via New Jersey), go public with their culinary secrets (“We don’t have any,” says Frank. “That’s our biggest secret of all”) and recipes. They also tell their inspiring success story, from selling tarts wholesale out of a warehouse in Long Island City to opening their now-famous outpost in Soho.

In nine delicious chapters ranging from savory tarts to cookies, the authors instruct and advise home cooks on everything from how to make the flakiest tart crust (“keep the dough cold”) to making sandwiches (“condiments are key”) to how to diet (“you want half the calories, eat half the scone”). Once Upon a Tart is packed with more than 225 easy-to-prepare recipes, including all the store classics that have earned Frank and Jerome the devotion of their customers: Caramelized-Leek-and-Celery Tart, Creamy Carrot Soup with Fresh Dill, Pork Loin Sandwich with Frisée and Rosemary-Garlic Aioli, Buttermilk Scones with Dried Currants, Banana–Poppy Seed Muffins, and Strawberry-Rhubarb Tart with Crisp Topping.

Says Frank, “We believe that deep down, everyone is a cook.” Adds Jerome, “And that a little butter in your life is a good thing.”

About the Author

Frank Mentesana has spent ten years as owner of Once Upon a Tart. He is the creator of several cooking curricula for children and has recently broadened his involvement with food to include food styling, photography, and gardening. He holds a degree in hotel management and met partner Jerome Audureau while working as a food and beverage director for the French Accor Hotel Group. Frank learned to cook from his Italian grandmother and learned to love food during long forays through markets with his father. His proudest achievement by far is his son, Matthew. Frank lives in New Jersey.

Jerome Audureau grew up in Avignon, France. While running a summer business as part of his studies at Maxine’s Hotel and Restaurant School in Paris, he developed an idea for a café dedicated to tarts. He brought this idea with him when he came to the United States, and, along with partner Frank Mentesana, made it into Once Upon a Tart. After ten years, Jerome is still responsible for running the café, remembering which customer likes which cookie, and generally making people feel good. Jerome lives in Long Island City.

Carolynn Carreño is a writer living in New York City.

Praise For Once Upon a Tart...

Once Upon a Tart is a treasure, chock full of wonderful stories, useful cooking tips, and pages and pages of mouth-watering recipes. A delightful addition to any cookbook collection.”
-- Nina Simonds, author of A Spoonful of Ginger

Once Upon a Tart is the kind of book I can’t get enough of: fun, unfussy, and full of helpful cooking tidbits. When I open the book I feel as if I have walked into Frank and Jerome’s café. It's a marvelous place to visit, both in person and in these pages.”
-- Joan Nathan

Once Upon A Tart is a magical collection of recipes that will quickly lead you into the kitchen to start cooking and baking.”
-- Marion Cunningham