The French have been the leaders and are recognized as the innovators in the culinary arts scene since the beginning of time, and most of the famous chefs in history are French. The well known and famous chefs that are not French, nevertheless, are trained in the art of cooking with the classical French style.
Antoine Careme well known as the “King of Chefs and the Chef of Kings,” and who began as an abandoned child. It was Paris, in the 18th century, where Antoine Careme was left alone at the door step of a restrauteur, and became the father of “haute cuisine” in the 19th century which is the high art of French cooking. French statesman and Diplomat Talleyrand-Perigord, the future King George IV, Czar Alexander I, and James Rothschild a powerful banker, Careme was the Chef to these world leaders and aristocrats. Careme is well known for his famous writings on the art of cooking, included in the writings is the famed “The Art of French Cooking” or L’Art de la Cuisine Francaise. The masterpiece contains five volumes of information and knowledge on the history of French cooking, table settings, menu planning, recipes in the hundreds, and much more.
George Auguste Escoffier, who is also French, in the late 19th and early 20th century modernized Careme’s elaborate style of cuisine by his ingenious simplification of the food. With partner Cesar Ritz, and as a chef George Auguste Escoffier lent his culinary skills and talents to open the Carlton and Ritz hotels, and on the German Passenger Liner (Imperator) , 1913, went on to impress passengers such as Kaiser William II of Germany who was the last German Emperor and King of Prussia. The Peach Melba is a classic dessert, invented in 1892 or 1893 by chef Auguste Escoffier, and Escoffier created this famous treat for Australian singer Nellie Melba. Escoffier is well known for such famous treats as Peach Melba. Escoffier wrote volumes on the art of cooking, but within the commercial kitchens, Escoffier was largely responsible as the mover and shaker in the improvement of the working conditions. Escoffier was a stickler for cleanliness, and Escoffier demanded the same cleanliness from the working staff. Escoffier was also against any type of swearing or violence from his workers and all these types of behaviour was forbidden, and at the time swearing or violence was common in the kitchens among apprentices and older cooking staff.
The grandson of a chef, and a restrauteur’s son, Charles Ranhofer will go down in history as one of great chefs, and the very first French chef to bring the style and grandeur of France’s cuisine to North America. Charles Ranhofer was the head chef, and ran its kitchens at the famous Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York for over 30 years. Charles Ranhofer culinary creatations such as Baked Alaska and Lobster Newburg, plus many others were introduced and served to a host of foreign dignitaries, President Andrew Johnson, President U.S. Grant and Charles Dickens, among others.
One of the most famous and gifted chefs of all time is not French, her name is Julia Child and she is an American, author, and television personality, who introduced French cuisine and cooking techniques to the American mainstream, through her television programs and many cookbooks. Mastering the Art of French Cooking is one of the more famous cookbooks that Julia Child wrote in 1961, and with the series The French Chef, showcasing her sui generis television persona, which started in 1963.
Born in California, and at the age of 34 Julia Child started her cooking career, and a move to France where she had her grand epiphany, a sudden realization that good food is more than mashed potatoes and roast beef. Julia Child enrolled and got a culinary arts education at the esteemed Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. Later, with two partners, Julia Child wrote the cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”, and became the very first “celebrity chef” with more cookbooks, television programs, newspaper columns, and magazine articles. She received the French Legion of Honor in 2000 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003. Julia Child also received honorary doctorates from Harvard University, her alma mater Smith College, and several other universities. Julia Child brought to North America exquisite French cuisine as much with her “have-a-good-time” attitude toward the art of cooking as she did with her cooking skill, talent and expertise.
To all of these great chefs who have turned cooking into a real art form, and for their incredible talents, giftedness and tireless contributions to cooking, everybody owes a Hugh debt.