Is There A New Building Where The Old Riviera Was Fathers of French Cuisine – Escoffier

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Fathers of French Cuisine – Escoffier

Unlike his predecessors, Auguste Escoffier cooked for the public. Not privately to royalty and high society as was the case for Antoine Careme. And to a lesser extent La Varenne. But building on the foundations that La Varenne and Careme established, Escoffier gave the final refinements to French cuisine as we know it today.

Escoffier’s career began at the age of thirteen in his uncle’s restaurant in Nice. Here he received no favors as the chief’s nephew. And, as a result, he benefited from a difficult practice, which he would later appreciate and, of course, build on.

The opportunity to build what would become one of the most high-profile careers in French Culinary History came when his talent caught the eye of a Parisian restaurateur, who invited Escoffier to join his team. After three years, Escoffier, at the age of twenty-one, became the head chef of Le Petite Moulin Rouge. One of the best restaurants in Paris.

Escoffier’s next career “move” was not one of his choosing. At the beginning of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870, he was called to serve – at the stove. Although to some chefs this might have seemed a step down the ladder of culinary progress, it inspired Escoffier to study techniques for preserving meats, vegetables and sauces. As the army required food that would keep well.

After the war, Escoffier returned to Paris and his position as head chef at Le Petite Moulin Rouge, remaining until 1878. He then held a series of similar high-profile posts in Paris, Monte Carlo and Switzerland. It was in Lucerne that Escoffier met a former hotel groom who would enhance his career. Cesar Ritz.

Basically, the Ritz had the hotels. And in each of them – Escoffier led the culinary show. At the Ritz in Paris. At the Savoy and Carleton in London. Where clients included the likes of the Prince of Wales. It was here that Escoffier would create a new dessert in honor of the Australian singer Nellie Melba. A little thing called: “Peach Melba”.

During his twenty-year tenure at Carleton’s stove, Escoffier created some of his most famous dishes. Among them “Chaud-Froid Jeanette” and “Cuisses de Nymphe Aurore” – dish with a frog’s legs named after the Prince of Wales.

It was during this time that Escoffier would further enhance the contributions of Careme and La Varenne. Simplifying Careme’s complex approach to cooking and abandoning excessive garnishes, heavy sauces and elaborate preparations.

In addition to simplifying and simplifying the French kitchen, Escoffier also instituted similar reforms in the kitchen itself. Better work standards were his first achievement. Of course the attraction of a better quality of kitchen help. Swearing and alcohol were prohibited. Hygiene standards were increased. And the French boss introduced the current “brigade” system. Where each chef is responsible for a certain part of the kitchen.

When Ritz had a nervous breakdown in 1901 and their partnership effectively ended, Escoffier turned his attention to recording his recipes and techniques. He produced five books. His first “Le Guide Culinaire” quickly took off, and today it remains the “Chef’s Bible”.

Although he planned to retire in 1919, the year he turned 73, Escoffier was persuaded by the widow of his former boss at Le Petite Moulin Rouge to help run the Hermitage Hotel in Monte Carlo. Later, this old but decidedly inadequate dynamo also helped develop the Riviera Hotel there.

In addition to his books and cooking for the privileged, Escoffier also organized programs to feed the hungry and provide financial assistance to retired chefs.

Auguste Escoffier, the simple country boy from Villeneuve-Loubet who became the second most famous chef in the world (after Careme), died in Monte Carlo in 1935, aged 89. Leaving a legacy of 10,000 recipes, five books and constant inspiration for all who appreciate French cuisine.

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