The innovative filmmaker documenting Life in Sourdough

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

New York-based filmmaker and photographer Marie C has a lofty resume to her name. She creates award-winning short films for countless inspiring businesses and personalities, and is the creative force behind her own alternative cooking web series My Life in Sourdough – now in its third series, with a fourth in the pipeline. Modelled loosely on Marie’s own passionate life lived through the most humble of foods, My Life in Sourdough is a romcom-come-cooking show chronicling the culinary adventures of a French girl looking for a love “as orgasmic as bread making”.  We spoke to Marie C, long-time friend and collaborator of Rachel Khoo’s, about her first love, her upcoming episodes, and her idyllic life lived between New York City and Paris.

Where do you call home and what inspires you most about your city?

Home is where my sourdough starter is and he travels with me everywhere, whether I’m going to New York or flying to Paris. My friends are always making fun of this special relationship I have with my starter, so eventually I decided to make him into my love interest in season 2 of My Life in Sourdough.

I love the energy and pace of New York. Some say it’s an illusion, but even if it is, I think it’s a pretty inspiring one. If you have an idea here, people encourage you; ‘go for it!’ could be New York’s motto. Nothing is impossible. That said, New York is very intense and there are days where you feel like the city is going to eat you alive, which is why I love spending time in France (in Paris or the Alsatian countryside) to balance out the intensity of living in New York.

What was your inspiration behind your film series My Life in Sourdough?

This project was inspired both by a desire to incorporate food into my films and by the thought of challenging the standard style of cooking shows to do something more alternative. Season 1 was also inspired by my experiences of dating in New York (picking the right apples, choosing the wrong men), season 2 by my relationship with my sourdough starter (which gave the series an absurd tone), and season 3 by my frequent travels to Paris (it’s a more intimate, family driven season. See the teaser video below). I also drew inspiration from my directors of photography – Chananun Chotrungroj, Anna Stypko, Colleen Kwok, Leonardo d’Antoni – who really helped me set the visual style of the series.

Tell us about a day in the life of Marie C?

Every day starts with feeding my sourdough starter, ‘Fluffy’, a little bit of white and a little bit of rye flour. Then everything changes depending on whether I’m at the writing stages of a series, in production or in post-production. Right now, I’m in the later so I spend my time between finishing the last videos for season 3 (a fun series of life-changing tips with chefs from Paris), adding the last touches to the design of a new website, and writing the next season: a crazy road trip looking for my missing lover Fluffy across America (think Thelma and Louise, but with a sourdough starter).

My Life in Sourdough

Tips for caring for sourdough culture at home?

  • Experiment with a stiff starter (feed your starter more flour than usual).
  • Try adding a touch of rye flour to your starter, especially if it’s a bit deflated.
  • Above all, be patient. The more you feed your starter on a daily basis, the more you’ll get to know him or her.

Still photography vs film – what’s your favourite medium to work with?

Tough question for me. One inspires the other and vice versa. On a daily basis, I shoot stills because I can do it without a big crew. Directing a film always requires more man – and girl – power!

Is collaboration important to you? 

Absolutely. Making films is all about collaboration. Working with talented people can only make your work better and inspire you. My life in Sourdough was definitely a collective enterprise  if you look at our crew page, you’ll see that there are a lot of people behind this project.

Are rituals an important part of creativity? 

Yes. But like all rules, rituals are also meant to be broken. My strongest ritual is cooking at home. I do that every day – and feel very off-balance when I can’t cook for a week. It’s both a moment of relaxation and inspiration. I really fuels my creativity. I also aim to write every day, even if it’s just to make lists of things I want to do – and not just the boring paperwork tasks, but the things that excite me.

Best Kept Secrets

I khoollect a few …

As a bread baker, I have a bit of a flour collection. Buckwheat, durum, spelt, high-extraction flour, chickpea flour…I always love discovering new flours and new mills. Next step – milling my own flour one day.

What’s your favourite item in your khoollection? 

Probably my blue Le Creuset cast iron pot, which makes for great bread and a very heavy suitcase!

Favourite corner of the Internet? 

I love Soundcloud. The alternative French bands who composed the soundtrack of Season 3 of My Life in Sourdough have their latest songs and remixes on there: Mozambo, Jacoby and Octave Lissner. They all sing in English and I listen to them on repeat, turning my cooking sessions into a dance party.

Estouest New York

Have you tuned in to My Life in Sourdough? Tell us about your favourite episode below…

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Find out Marie C’s favourite spots to indulge in bread and other delights around New York City.