In 2021, the Magnolia Network premiered a show called The Lost Kitchen, which tells the true story of Erin French, a chef and restauranteur in Freedom, Maine. The show captures an inside look of what it’s like to run a restaurant during the pandemic. I’ve fallen in love with this show, because it’s so inspiring…And the food is amazing, too! Throughout the show, I was struck by how many great life lessons you can learn from Erin and her friends.
Haven’t seen The Lost Kitchen yet? Please go check it out on Discovery Plus. If you want to support Erin and the rest of the crew at The Lost Kitchen, you can buy her cookbook called The Lost Kitchen: Recipes, and Life Found in Freedom, Maine or pre-order her new book called Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story Remaking Life From Scratch.
10. Eat What’s in Season
One of the best parts of The Lost Kitchen’s farm-to-table model is that they based that week’s menu on what is fresh. The more fresh ingredients are, the better they taste. If you have a backyard garden, try to incorporate all of your fruits and vegetables into your weekly meal. Visit local farmer’s markets and check out what there is a surplus of. Supporting local farmers is a great way to give back to your community, and it always tastes ten times better than any imported produce you would find at the grocery store.
9. Every Occasion Deserves Elegance
Whether it’s having a BYOB picnic at her local lobster shack or going on a road trip, Erin always finds a way to make her snacks elegant. In the scenes where she is having dinner with her husband at home, she still manages to light candles and put a bouquet of flowers on the table after plating a beautiful meal. Remember that you don’t have to be a professional restauranteur to bring a bit more elegance into your meals. The more special you make something, the better it tastes.
8. Instead of Focusing on What You Can’t Do, Focus on What You Can Do
Throughout The Lost Kitchen series, we see Erin go through so many obstacles that threaten the success of her business. Everything she is going through seems incredibly stressful. But she needs to put on a happy face for her customers and employees. She said, “Instead of focusing on what I can’t do, I’m trying to focus on what I can do.” That is such a powerful message.
During this pandemic, it’s likely that there are plenty of things you can’t do anymore. How can you incorporate that advice into your own life?
7. Your Pantry Doesn’t Need to be Fully Stocked to Make Something Great
How many times have you used the excuse that you’re missing something from the fridge, so you can’t cook? Or how about all the times when you felt a bit tired, and order pizza instead? The amazing think about watching Erin work is that she might receive a phone call telling her that she can’t cook with a particular ingredient that week, because the weather was bad, or there were fewer ripe vegetables available than she had hoped. No matter what obstacle is thrown her way, she always pivots into a new recipe based on what she has available in her kitchen at the time.
We’re living in a time where a lot of us have fully stocked pantries, but we might be missing our favorite things. Try to work with what you have on-hand, because it helps to save money and keep you home where it’s safe. You just might surprise yourself! Get creative, and have fun.
6. It’s Never Too Late to Change Your Life
On the Magnolia Network TV series, Erin French shares that before she opened The Lost Kitchen, she struggled with a contentious divorce. She lost her previous restaurant, and struggled with addiction. And even when she could finally afford an airstream, it was still a huge struggle to survive. But she did it. She got remarried to her second husband, Michael, and was able to start a new life.
A lot of people go through similar struggles to Erin, and they give up hope. But she was strong enough to make it through…And you can, too! It’s never too late for you to change your life for the better.
5. Think About How You Can Serve The Community
When the pandemic hit and Erin could no longer welcome guests to the restaurant, she wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Without The Lost Kitchen, the town of Freedom, Maine was losing one of its major sources of revenue. Erin figured out a way to help her business and the community at the same time. She changed her website into an online farmer’s market, where locals could pick up fresh locally grown meat, produce, eggs, and dairy.
During this challenging time, it might be a struggle just to take care of yourself, and your family. But is there a way for you to help the community as a whole? Reach out, and see if there is anything you can do.
4. Trust in the Person, Not the Resume
One of the most beautiful things about watching The Lost Kitchen is seeing the friendship between Erin and the women she employs. Many of these women had never worked in a restaurant before. But Erin could see who they were as a person, and judged them based on that above anything that may have been on their resume. This is part of unconditional love. It doesn’t matter who they were, or where they came from. But all of those ladies are welcome at the table.
With the world being as crazy as it is now, people can no longer define their lives by their jobs. Always judge the human being before you think about their job, or how much money they make.
3. Hard Times Make You Stronger
On The Lost Kitchen TV series, Erin shares the fact that her airstream was a way for her to get back on her feet by making a mobile kitchen. Once she finally had the restaurant at the old mill, she felt like she “made it”. Life became easy as she got into a rhythm. When the pandemic happened, she was thrown for a loop, and she had to find a new groove to adjust to the “new normal”. That airstream she assumed she no longer needed ended up helping her tremendously when it came to the new outdoor dining and grocery businesses.
These tough times are here to make us stronger. Remember that if we can get through this, we can get through anything. For the rest of our lives, everything else will seem easy by comparison!
2. You Could Always Use More Butter
On The Lost Kitchen, Erin has said on multiple occasions that she loves butter. In fact, on her Instagram, she even showed off a Christmas ornament of a stick of butter! It may be fattening, but it’s part of why many of her recipes are so delicious.
In your life, are you cutting back on the things you enjoy? Of course, it’s time to stay healthy. But don’t hold yourself back from enjoying the things you love in moderation.
1. In Trying Times, Give Yourself an Escape
In The Lost Kitchen series, Erin and her husband Mike go on a nice little camping trip to celebrate their 2-year wedding anniversary. She mentioned how it’s still important to escape sometimes. In the midst of all of the chaos, she really deserved some time off just to relax and have fun.
Are you giving yourself an escape? Is there something you could be doing to make life easier on yourself? If you’re looking for a way to relax, definitely try out some of the other Magnolia Network series like Homegrown , Growing Floret, and Van Go.