Craig Carlson, Nice – July 2023
New York Times bestselling author and restaurateur Craig Carlson first came to France as an exchange student in 1984 and instantly fell in love with the country. He never could have imagined that some forty years later he’d be the founder of two American diners in Paris and be nicknamed “Le Pancake Kid” by the French. And he likely never dreamed that he’d be standing in front of a room of Americans living in Nice . . . in Nice!
With a background in journalism, Craig studied cinema at the prestigious USC School of Cinematic Arts, using his experience as a screenwriter to pen his debut memoir, Pancakes in Paris: Living the American Dream in France. His follow up book, Let Them Eat Pancakes, delves deeper into the joys and challenges of working, eating and loving in France. Craig recounted some of the humorous adventures he experienced opening the first American diner in Paris, Breakfast in America. With no previous restaurant or business experience, Craig had to learn the hard way how to navigate France’s Draconian labor laws, find “exotic ingredients” for his breakfast dishes and even survive a scene of Emily in Paris shot at his diner. But somehow Craig managed to beat the odds, with Breakfast in America having just celebrated its 20th anniversary in business.
Craig was glowing as he began to speak at Après-Midi in Nice, which is actually quite fitting since this past year his life has taken an expected turn, with Nice playing a central role in ways he never could have imagined. He and his husband, Julien Chameroy, purchased an apartment in Nice in which Julien’s mother, Elisabeth, could happily live. She moved from Antibes, where she didn’t have the same exciting lifestyle as she now has in Nice. As a result they both spend quite a bit more time on the Riviera.
Craig talked about his experience moving to France and opening the restaurants, even with no experience—just a great idea and a lot of guts. Not only was he very successful, but wrote two books, managed to sell the restaurants off, and work toward a happy retirement, part of which will be spent in Nice.
We recorded the session as always, but later discovered the audio wasn’t working, so we can’t show it, but we’re hoping Craig will do a voice over for us so we won’t lose out entirely. If and when that happens, we’ll update this page and provide the link, so stay tuned!
Meanwhile, be sure to get copies of both his books which are fabulously poignant and funny! You’ll love reading them both! See Craig’s website for more information.