Meet our amazing team!
Who is this French Lady? You may have heard of her through “Chez Blandine”, personal chef specializing in French food or through “Wholly Crêpe”, owner and chef. These are now in the past as she decided in 2012 to go back to her own kitchen, her second house! 5 years later, she chose to give her home kitchen back to her family and open a culinary center. This big move enabled her to answer the increasing demands but it also allowed her to let her creativity be infinite as there are no more home restrictions!
Blandine Brutel moved to Colorado Springs from France in 2008. As a Mother of 3, she cannot spend hours in the kitchen. She loves fast recipes, doable in large quantities so she can freeze them or put them in her husband and daughters’ lunch boxes for the next day. She is a perfectionist who will only validate a recipe once the taste of it suits her palate, her husband’s and her children’s. She will also gladly share organization tips with you as she just has an innate sense for organization!
She wants to teach you French traditional home cooking your whole family will enjoy. You may wonder what she prefers to cook…….. well, desserts!
Her promise to you:
- I will give you detailed recipes so you have everything you need when you want to try them on your own.
- I will give you all my tricks to cook fast and save time when cooking.
- I will teach you in a residential kitchen with equipment and utensils you can find in your own kitchen.
- If I use fancy utensils, I will offer alternatives with what you have in your own kitchen or I will have them available in my boutique!
- I will not use fancy techniques that you can never reproduce because it’s too complicated and long (except for the Gourmet cakes… but if you never want to remake them, I will have them in the bakery!)
- I will not use fancy ingredients you cannot find in stores (except for the Gourmet cakes… but I carry those in my boutique).
- If you are looking for professional chefs’ techniques, credentials or professional material, this is not the place. There are some good schools for that out there. I’m “just” self taught!
- If I can cook in my kitchen, you can too! I’m “just” a Mom… a very busy Mom!
Blandine Brutel is looking forward to meeting French Food Fans!
Sébastien moved to Colorado Springs in 2000 from a small village near Valence, France. His passion began from when he was a baking apprentice at the age of 15 at Boulangerie Dufour. Beginning with artisan bread and working towards the perfect croissant, he worked for 2 years under head baker Dufour. Eager about expanding his skillset, Sébastien started his pastry chef apprenticeship at Patisserie Dagand. There he worked in a fast paced, driven environment where he could hone in his art of decorating and baking cakes.
After a year of work, he moved to the States to pursue an opportunity to work here in Colorado Springs. Sébastien worked at an upscale restaurant and a few bakeries in town trying to find one that fit. He finally found that at The French Kitchen.
He is excited to showcase his experience and skills he’s learned over a lifetime. Sébastien’s specialty is back to his roots with artisan bread and croissants.
When not in the kitchen, Sébastien can be found out on the trail with his pups alongside his mountain bike. He also enjoys rock climbing the beautiful Colorado landscape and being out on the river with his friends.
Grateful for this new opportunity, Sébastien wants to share the art of French baking with his customers.
Sébastien is more than a Baker and Pastry Chef, he is also Blandine’s right-hand man, regularly guiding and advising her in all aspects of the business.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Kristi is no novice to delicious food. She loved to use her parents as test subjects for whatever concoctions she created after spending nights watching Iron Chef (the Japanese version with subtitles and dubbed voices). She fell even more in love with food and traveling after spending a month in France with her best friend’s family in high school.
Kristi graduated from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in Nutrition in 2010 and from the Art Institute of Colorado with an A.A. in Culinary Arts in 2011. In culinary school, she was able to explore international cuisines and cooking techniques while exploring her renewed interest in baking and pastry.
Since graduating culinary school, Kristi has worked in a variety of food businesses…from a late night sports bar to a high-end hotel. In the most recent years, she gained valuable experience as a kitchen manager at NoNo’s Café and the chef at Espressolé Caffe in Denver.
Since starting with The French Kitchen in June 2016, Kristi feels like she finally found a place in this industry. She enjoys learning about French cuisine and techniques from Blandine and loves testing out new recipes that can be used for future classes. Kristi enjoys teaching kids’ classes because “they get even more excited about food than me!”. She also appreciates the challenge of introducing new flavor to young palates.
She compliments Blandine’s passion in the most amazing way in all aspects of The French Kitchen and brings laughter, energy, smiles, creativity and fun. She is Blandine’s other right-hand man!
Kristi also brings an international professional chef’s perspective to Blandine’s French cuisine. Come and try her food, you will be hooked!
Brian is our quiches, soups and most of all ice cream specialist. You should have seen the smile on his face the day Blandine added an ice cream machine in the kitchen! That was the beginning of a whole line of sorbets and ice creams, one of his passions.
Anne is originally from Vietnam. She came to the United States when she was 10 and grew up in Northern Virginia. She has lived all over, has led a very nomadic lifestyle. Some of her favorite places where she has lived are France, Japan, Thailand, The Philippines, and Vietnam. In each of the places she has lived, she made a point to cook and eat like a local. Food to her is a memory, a way to share her experiences with others. When she is not in the kitchen cooking, she is a busy mom to three kids. In her spare time, you can find her with a camera hiking with her husband, three kids, and three dogs. She has always dreamed of working in a French Boulangerie in France, but she will settle for working at the French Kitchen in Colorado Springs, CO with Blandine and Sebastien! Thanks to Anne’s experience around the world, you will now see her teaching classes with specialties other than French.
Nancy is originally from New Jersey, but has lived all over the country except the Pacific Northwest. She worked for Merrill Lynch for 15 years. After retiring from ML, she got her degree from the NY Institute of Photography. She is a free lance wildlife photographer specializing in photo greeting cards and calendars.
She loves anything French and has been to France several times. What she loves about the French Kitchen is the aroma of the pastries that fills the place. She especially loves the Pâté and gherkin sandwich as well as the Baguettes. Plus, it’s a fun place to work.
Barbara is a Colorado native from the south-western slope. After high school, she lived and studied in Essex, England as a Rotary exchange student. From there, she took trips to Paris, Spain, Portugal and Norway. Upon returning home, she attended CU Boulder to earn a degree in Environmental Design.
Barbara grew up learning to cook from scratch, and loves exploring different cuisines and sharing the bounty. After college, she was a resident innkeeper at a B&B in California, making breakfasts and serving afternoon tea. The next season of life was spent nuturing a family with 3 children. In recent years, she’s been a barista in a local coffee shop, and has brought those skills to The French Kitchen.
Her free-time passions include different creative arts, and being on a trail hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, or cross-country skiing.