Camille Aubray
Camille Aubray
Author of Cooking for Picasso

People Magazine Picks COOKING FOR PICASSO for “The Best New Books”

A quest for the missing Picasso worthy of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. As with any good quest, the heroine finds love along the way, too. An amuse-bouche filled with secret ingredients, covert liaisons, and hidden compartments.
A tasty blend of romance, mystery, French cooking, plus the hairy old painter himself. Which Girl? What Window? Read on . . .
— MARGARET ATWOOD, via Twitter
With lively characters and a twisting plot, Aubray’s novel is a smart and satisfying tale of family, creativity, romance and intrigue.


A Novel of Art, Food, Love, and Life

Welcome to my home page . . . and the world of COOKING FOR PICASSO. 

I’ve been in love with the French Riviera ever since I first set foot there, as a writer-in-residence at an artists’ colony up in a hillside town called Vence. Returning to the Côte d’Azur again and again, I came across a true but little-known story about Pablo Picasso, who, in the spring of 1936, sneaked away from his turbulent personal life among Parisian society. With great secrecy, Picasso arrived in the South of France and rented a villa, using a different name to remain anonymous. No one is really sure what happened to him during this mysterious interlude on the Riviera—but after many months of not being able to paint, suddenly Pablo Picasso picked up his brush and began painting again.

I found this anecdote—and the startling artwork that Picasso created during this period—utterly intriguing and irresistible, inspiring me to invent my own characters: a young French girl in the 1930s named Ondine, who cooks for Picasso and gets drawn into his world; and, almost a century later, her modern-day American grand-daughter, Céline, who goes off on a personal quest to uncover family secrets and find out what really happened when her grandmother and the greatest artist of the twentieth century crossed paths.

To learn more about Cooking for Picasso, please do browse among the pictures and stories on this website. Click on “FAQ” to hear about my writing and publishing process. My “About the Novel” page has a summary of the story. And my “Photo Gallery” will take you straight to the French Riviera . . . where it just may feel like your own home away from home!

COOKING FOR PICASSO is a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection.

A colorful family saga . . . about how people take what seems to be worthless and make it into something priceless. Whether it’s a woman who creates meaning from sad circumstances or a genius who finds his way through a fallow period to create his masterwork, the characters in [Cooking for Picasso] illustrate how essential bad is to good, life is to death and work is to art . . . [and] reveal that value lies not in what you own, but in who you are.
This richly crafted tale of love, trust, art and food is wonderfully evocative of the sun-kissed Côte d’Azur, while weaving in a modern-day mystery. . . ideal for whiling away some time en vacances on the Riviera.
— FRANCE TODAY magazine

Thrilling, fast-paced and engaging, COOKING FOR PICASSO is a novel that vividly portrays the South of France. Intrigue, art, food and deception are woven together in a tale of love and betrayal around the life and legacy of Picasso. Touching and true, this well-written narrative made me long for my mother’s coq au vin and for the sun of Juan-les-Pins.
— JACQUES PÉPIN, chef, TV personality, author
The novel alternates between Ondine’s encounters with Picasso and the repercussions of that brief affair, and Céline’s adventures with cooking, love, and history along the Mediterranean. The real meat of this novel is in the details (both real and imagined) of Picasso’s fascinating life.
Ondine meets a mysterious figure in her family’s café—with no inkling of of how he’ll shape her life and that of her grand-daughter Céline, living in present-day Hollywood. A sweet summer read!
This touching and delectable novel invokes the breathtaking scenery of the South of France and the Côte d’Azur in 1936, when a young chef French begins a love affair with Pablo Picasso. Inspired by Picasso’s works from that time period depicting an unknown young woman, Aubray paints a beautiful story of love, art, food, and the enduring romance of the Mediterranean.