Who became known as ‘The Chef of Kings and the King of Chefs’?

Answer: The 19th Century French Chef, Antonin Careme, who created haute cuisine, was perhaps the greatest chef of all.

French cuisine had been essentially rich food with little thought given to harmonizing flavors and textures. Careme changed all that by highlighting fresh ingredients and refining and simplifying dishes – although he did once prepare a banquet with 48 courses.

He was chef to the great French foreign minister Talleyrand for 12 years. Tsar Alexander 1 of Russia brought him to St Petersburg for a series of banquets. He also worked for Baroness Rothschild, the richest woman in Europe.

England’s enormously fat Price Regent, who later became King George 1V, admonished Careme saying, ‘You will kill me from eating too much; I want everything you prepare and the temptations are too much.’ Careme replied, ‘Your Royal Highness, my most important duty is to whet your appetite through the variety of what I serve; it is not my job to control it’.

He became known as ‘The Chef of Kings and the King of Chefs.’ A remarkable career for the son of an impoverished stonemason, who had 25 children, and who, when Careme was 11 years old, took him to Paris, bought him a cheap meal and then abandoned him.

Source: A Leap Year, 366 Great Stories from History by W B Marsh and Bruce Carrick

More at: History

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