Rachel Khoo's kitchen in her minuscule flat in Paris' Belleville district only has two little gas rings to cook on - there is hardly room for a fridge and only just enough space for the micro cooker. Yet from this tiny 21 square metre space, the 31-year-old from Croydon has become a culinary star, presenting her cooking programme the Little Paris Kitchen on BBC2 to an audience of 1.5 million earlier this year. The camera crew and Khoo, with her trademark red lips and vintage dresses, squeeze into the kitchen as she masters classic French dishes without pomp or pretence. If the setting seems unlikely, Khoo's story - the Brit who convinced the French she can cook and one who has produced a best selling cook book - is an even more intriguing tale.
Six years ago Khoo decided to quit her job in fashion PR in London and move to Paris. Her bemused parents and friends thought she was mad to relocate to a city where a mumbled "bonjour" was the extent of her local language skills. But Khoo was determined and headed off to enrol in a pâtisserie course at Le Cordon Bleu. Stints as an au pair and spritzing perfume in a department store funded her studies until she graduated. Next she worked at culinary bookstore La Cocotte, running cookery classes for trendy Parisians. However, it wasn't until Khoo emailed a publisher with an idea for a cookery book that her career rocketed.
Needing 120 recipes to fill the pages of the new book, Khoo opened a pop-up restaurant in her home to test-run ideas. Within hours of announcing La Petite Cuisine à Paris on Twitter, she was booked up for months. With just enough space for two people, Khoo's home became the place to eat in Paris and soon the buzz around the young chef came to the attention of the BBC.
Khoo's easy charm on screen, scouring food markets on her bike, and trying not to trip over cameramen is changing attitudes towards a cuisine that seemed too complex to try at home - it's no wonder Khoo is everyone's chef du jour.