The Lost Kitchen, 22 Mill Street, Freedom, chef and owner Erin French prepares meals during dinner in 2014. Credit: Ashley L. Conti / BDN

Erin French, owner of and chef at nationally acclaimed restaurant The Lost Kitchen in the Waldo County town of Freedom, has sold the rights to the story she told in her recent memoir to a major Hollywood producer.

French told The New York Times on Tuesday that she and her husband, Michael Dutton, sold the film rights to her book, “Finding Freedom: A Cook’s Story,” to producer Bruna Papandrea. French was approached by a number of movie industry producers who were interested in her story, including Blake Lively and Ron Howard, the Times reported.

In the end, however, French went with Papandrea, who intends to turn the book into a movie. French said that she was won over by Papandrea’s track record and passion for the project.

“We’re heading into what’s referred to as ‘Shark Territory,’ getting into this whole world of Hollywood-ness,” French told The New York Times. “We felt like Bruna’s a fighter and Bruna was going to always protect us and keep pushing forward.”

Papandrea previously co-produced movies and TV series with Reese Witherspoon, including “Big Little Lies,” “Wild” and “Gone Girl.” Papandrea founded her own production company, Made Up Stories, in 2017, and most recently produced “Nine Perfect Strangers,” the Hulu series starring Nicole Kidman and Melissa McCarthy, which Hulu said has been its most-watched original TV series ever.

French is no stranger to the camera. In early 2021, her TV series, “The Lost Kitchen,” premiered on streaming platform Discovery+. The show followed French and her all-female staff as they source ingredients and run the restaurant. Last month, it was renewed for a second season.

The Lost Kitchen reopened for regular dining in July of this year after staying closed for the entire 2020 season due to the pandemic; all reservations for the entire season are booked. French offered a farmers market last summer, as well as outdoor lunches, and she recently installed glamping cabins on the restaurant property to offer guests in addition to dinner.

As for the Lost Kitchen movie, it will likely be several years before it comes out, as the rights were just sold. The second season of “The Lost Kitchen” will premiere this fall on Discovery+.

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.