From blog to book to brand, Three Times a Day makes it look easy

Three Times a Day, the new cookbook from Marilou and Alexandre Champagne, makes one very astute assumption about its readers. No matter your dietary preferences or limitations, we all eat three meals a day. (At least, we try to tick the boxes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.) In total, that’s 21 meals a week.

Originally started as a blog, Three Times a Day (Trois Fois Par Jour)
helped Marilou overcome her anorexia and transform her relationship with food. Alexandre took the photos and soon the site became a hit. The blog has since grown into a full-fledged lifestyle brand, including a magazine (French only at this time) and an online home wares shop.

Based on the original blog, the cookbook flits between trend dishes and ingredients like chia seed pudding, fresh juices and almond mylk, while presenting indulgences including chocolate cake, pulled pork, and sloppy joe pizza roles. When reflecting on my own eating habits, my 21 meals matched with the Three Times a Day approach to eating: vegetable focused, room for plant-based alternatives, but not adverse to a piece of bacon.

I tried a simple recipe for lemon white chocolate scones. The ingredients included almond mylk and butter, an easy way to ease into baking that doesn’t always rely on dairy. It’s also refreshing to see recipes that don’t make a fuss about using alternatives— the argument can be made that nut mylks, Medjool dates and kale are here to stay.

I spoke with Alexandre over the phone to discuss the Three Times a Day philosophy, working with your spouse, and an addition to the family.

EAT: Did the goals for the book change from those of the website?

Alexandre: The main goal of everything that is Three Times a Day is to transform the relationship between food and people for the better. It’s all about enjoying life and enjoying the food you cook. My wife had suffered from anorexia for a couple of years and the first step to healing and curing the disease was to learn how to cook and to learn how food effects your body.

EAT: Was it a smooth transition from working online to working in print?

Alexandre: As a photographer, I’ve always wanted to publish my work in a book and this was the best way to do it. The market is very loaded with kitchen books and by doing a book we wanted to have a quality product, something that would be easy to relate to, with easy recipes.

EAT: I agree the book is relatable. I noted the there’s a mix of modern dishes that tend to be healthier and more traditional, indulgent recipes

Alexandre: It’s a question of balance. The main goal when you want to stay healthy is to eat in a balanced way. If you never eat sugar and cut it out of your diet, you’re eventually going to overeat the indulgent items.

EAT: I’m curious about the creative process between yourself and Marilou. Do you develop the recipes together?

Alexandre: We do not and I think that’s the better way to go. (Laughs) You wouldn’t want me to have any part in the creation of recipes. My wife loves to cook and she decided to take on that role. She’s a vegetable and salad kind of girl. I like meat a lot, so sometimes I give her ideas, but besides that she does all the creation.

EAT: Beyond the kitchen, how has your relationship influenced your business decisions?

Alexandre: It’s been a very good adventure and continues to be. We have grown a lot from the experience and have learned how we each react under pressure. There have been tough times, where we wouldn’t agree on stupid stuff like the colour of the table to photograph food on.

EAT: That last point sort of answers my next question, but I wanted to ask how important it was to keep the creative vision of the brand alive in the book?

Alexandre: We did everything in the book, from picking the accessories for the pictures, the recipes, to everything in between. The person who did the graphic design, she works for us now. She wrote us when she was still in school in Paris and said if you ever do a book I would like to design it. Later we met her in person and fell in love with her talent.

It is very important to have a strong brand identity. There are all these huge companies that buy each other and become bigger and bigger. In my opinion, when that happens, you lose the human interest. We have two human beings acting like human beings and directing a business.

EAT: I’ve been following Marilou on Instagram and I see you’re expecting a new addition to the family very soon. How do you think a baby will change the way you think about food?

The baby will just add another dimension to what Marilou creates. We’re really ready for it. We’re there in life.


Written By:

Kaitlyn Rosenburg holds a BFA in creative writing with a minor in journalism and publishing from the University of Victoria. Her work has appeared in local publications such as The Martlet, as well as national publications like ...

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