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Don't Dream it, Wear it!

Georges Auguste Escoffier - "The Emperor of Chefs and The Chef of Emperors"

Georges Auguste Escoffier "The Emperor of Chefs and The Chef of Emperors" also called the the father of modern French cuisine.

Born 28 October 1846 –D. 12 February 1935
Nationality: French
Birth place: In the village of Villeneuve-Loubet, near Nice.
Father of Escoffier: Blacksmith
Escoffier, a French chef, genius in culinary writing and the make of todays world famous recipes. It is belived that Escoffier managed to make over 10.000 new recipes, where one should remember that this was all happening way over 100 years ago, the beginning of an new area in the kitchen.
Escoffier is said to be a small man with a quite personality, respect for his fellow chefs, and a master mind in making the standards for workflow and section organization “Brigade” where the chef de partie was first know to the kitchen and still used today in kitchens all over the world. Further more is Escoffier the most important chef in the development of the modern French kitchen, where he simplified the menus and the way of preparation as before Escoffier was set by Marie-Antoine Careme. He further more replaced the “service a la francaise” where all dishes is served at once” to “Service a la russe” where you serve each dish in the order printed on the menu.
Escoffier is known to be a chef as did not drink or smoke, where at that time it seems to be the case for most chefs, (also when working).
Escoffier contributed largely to elevate the status and respect for chefs to a higher level. The white chefcoat by the idea of Marie-Antoine Careme fascinated Escoffier as a tool to get the chefs and the profession recognized as a respectful profession.

The career of Escoffier.

His first position in the restaurant industry was in his uncle’s restaurant, Le Restaurant Francais, in Nice, a restaurant with a good reputation. (closed in 1910)

In 1865 At the age 19 he started at the “Le Petit Moulin Rouge restaurant” in Paris (the most fashionable restaurant in Paris). Here he stayed until the Franco-Prussina war as started in 1870. He had a short army training during his work t Moulin rouge.

1870 he joined the the army, where he worked as a army chef.

1871 Escoffier worked in a number of restaurants, mostly in Paris
Around 1878? he opened his own restaurant Le Faisan d’Or (The Golden Pheasant) located in Cannes. “We have different years where he should have opened this restaurant, do you know what year and till when he had this restaurant?”

Somewhere in these years Escoffier was employed to manage the kitchen at the Maison Chevet, at the Palais Royal.A very fashionable restaurant especially know for big dinners and official banquets. Escoffier’s hereafter worked at the La Maison Maire where his task was to manage the kitchen.
1880 Escoffier married Delphine Daffis ( She died in 1935)

In 1884 Escoffier and Delphine moved to Monte Carlo where he managed the kitchen “Directeur de Cuisine” at the famous Grand Hotel during the next six years where he divided his time between the Grand Hotel in the winter season and the Hotel National in Lucerne, Switzerland, in the summer season. During this period he meet Cesar Ritz as should soon become a important person in his career and life.

1890 Escoffier was together with Escanard and Ritz headhunted for the Savoy Hotel in London as General Manager and Head of Restaurant Services. These men did in short time make the famous name Ritz, in such a manner that hotels of similar standard was launched in some of Europe’s capitals. These included Carlton in London, the Grand Hotel in Rome, the Ritz Hotels in Paris, London, New York, and many more.

From these year and through his career he made some brilliant recipes, here a few, remember that Escoffier is said to have been making over 10.000 recipes and garnishes.

Chaud-Froid Jeannette In 1881 the Jeannette, a ship equipped for an expedition to the North Pole, became icebound. The whole crew died except two sailors who after repeated efforts managed to reach the Siberian coast. lt was in memory of this expedition that Escoffier wanted to give the name of this ship to one of his greatest culinary successes ‘Les Supremes de Volailles Jeannette’.

Cuisses de Nymphe Aurore: (frogs legs) for the Prince of Wales
Rejane Salad: Rachel Mignonettes of Quail,.
Tournedos Rossini: named after the great Italian composer, Gioacchino Rossini. Copied from Antoin Carême

1898: Cesar Ritz and Escoffier opened the Hotel Ritz in Paris, the most modern of the time. It had electric lights, large bathrooms built into cupboards. A wine cellar that held four thousand bottles of vintage wine and a reserve cellar a few blocks away that held another one hundred and eighty thousand bottles!

1899 The Carlton Hotel opened in the very heart of London. The kitchens, administered by Escoffier who had a team of sixty +/- cooks under his control. Here the world saw for the first time the princip à la carte introduced by  Escoffier . Escoffier actually spend more than 20 years at the Carlton (stopped in 1919).

In 1901 Cesar faced a nervous breakdown as was the end of their time of working together. Cesar died in 1918

1902 / 1903 Escoffier published his book, Le Guide Culinaire, with about 500/0 recipes and garnishes. (do you know how many recipes this book had?, some say 500 some 5000)

1904 Escoffier was headhunted to the kitchens with the German Shipping Company, “Hamburg - Amerika Lines”, where they introduce an à la carte restaurant service for the more VIP passengers.

1912 Again the Hamburg - Amerika Shipping Line requested Escoffier’s services for the inauguration of the kitchens.

1914 Auguste Escoffier was sixty-eight years of age. He continued to direct the Carlton’s kitchens.

1919 At the age of seventy-three, Escoffier decided to leave the Carlton and to retire to Monte Carlo and rejoin his wife. The “No work” did not satisfy Escoffier, and did therefore in the administration of the Hotel de I’Ermitage. He also assisted in the development of the Riviera Hotel in Upper Monte Carlo.

1920 22nd March. Commander of the Legion of Honour and Director of Technical Education, handed Escoffier the order of Officer of the Legion of Honour. First chef ever to receive this Order.

1928 Received the Rosette of an Officer of the Legion from the German Emperor, William II.

1935 On the 12th February, a few short days after the death of his wife, Escoffier died in his home, La Villa Fernand, 8 bis Avenue de la Costa, Monte Carlo in his eighty-ninth year (89). His remains are buried in the family vault at Villeneuve - Loubet. The house where he was born was transformed into a museum of culinary art in 1966, at the suggestion of one of his cooks. Escoffier did in total have a working career of 62 years.

These is some of the books Escoffier published.
Les Fluers en Cire (1886)
Le Guide Culinaire (1902/1903)
Le Carnet d’Epicure (1911)
Le Livre des Menus (1912)
Le Riz (1927)
La Morue (1929)
Ma Cuisine (1934)

Additional notes
When Escoffier was young being a cook was not really a respected occupation, seen the conditions, the amount of alcohol consumed in the kitchens, the rigorous working conditions.
The cuisine suffered, the atmosphere in the kitchen suffered and the appearance of certain old cooks, undermined by years of work in such conditions and by their intemperance, gave him food for thought. (source: Wikipedia)  He even called on a famous doctor to invent a healthy drink as should make it easier for the chefs to work in the warm kitchens where the working days was long, and very hard conditions. In the kitchens of Escoffier, chefs should treat each other with respect, shouting and swearing was not allowed, the commis chefs, apprentices and other lover placed team members was also required to be treated with respect, where young people normally in kitchens was normally treated like goad’s. He further more advised his chefs to acquire the professional traning/education.
Kitchens had for centuries been seperated into sections, but it was August who devised an organised system.