Cooking for Kings: The Life of Antonin Careme, the First Celebrity Chef

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9780802777317: Cooking for Kings: The Life of Antonin Careme, the First Celebrity Chef

"Cuisinier, architect, and one of the most prolific writers of the 19th century, Carême was the founder of a classic cuisine that would influence generations of chefs. In this well-researched book, Ian Kelly deftly recounts the exploits of this remarkable man." ―JACQUES PÉPIN

Aunique feast of biography and Regency cookbook, Cooking for Kings takes readers on a chef's tour of the palaces of Europe in the ultimate age of culinary indulgence.

Drawing on the legendary cook's rich memoirs, Ian Kelly traces Antonin Carême's meteoric rise from Paris orphan to international celebrity and provides a dramatic below-stairs perspective on one of the most momentous, and sensuous, periods in European history―First Empire Paris, Georgian England, and the Russia of War and Peace.

Carême had an unfailing ability to cook for the right people in the right place at the right time. He knew the favorite dishes of King George IV, the Rothschilds and the Romanovs; he knew Napoleon's fast-food requirements, and why Empress Josephine suffered halitosis.

Carême's recipes still grace the tables of restaurants the world over. Now classics of French cuisine, created for, and named after, the kings and queens for whom he worked, they are featured throughout this captivating biography. In the phrase first coined by Carême, "You can try them yourself."

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About the Author:

Ian Kelly is an actor and writer who has created and acted in a one-man play about Carême at New York City's 59E59 Theaters. He has lived and worked in France, Russia, South America and the United States, and writes frequently about food and travel for many British publications, including the Times and the Guardian.

He currently lives in London with his wife and son. The son of academics, Kelly was brought up in Philadelphia, Bristol and Liverpool, and is a graduate of Cambridge University, where he studied 17th and 18th century British and European history. He holds an M.A. in Theater, Film, and Television from UCLA's film school, and has appeared in the films Howard's End, Attenborough's In Love and War, Dennis Potter's Cold Lazarus and was nominated for Best Actor at the 2002 Montreal Film Festival for his performance as a British hostage in Chechnya in the award-winning Russian epic Voina (The War). His stage work includes playing Henry V for the English Shakespeare Company; another Best Actor nomination for Tom Stoppard's Arcadia; and championing the lost 1800 comedy A Busy Day from fringe to West End. Kelly's adaptation of Justin Cartwright's Whitbread nominated novel In Every Face I Meet was shortlisted for the Orange Screenwriting Prize. Cooking for Kings is his first book.Ian was recently featured on CBS Sunday Morning, CBS TV. He has also written and presented THE REGENCY BANQUET, a syndicated program for Channel 4 in the UK, and A TASTE OF HISTORY!, a new regular feature on the Richard & Judy Show which looks at the history of food and the food historical figures would have themselves eaten.

From Publishers Weekly:

Readers who enjoy being privy to the evocative details of a past era will devour this book, and foodies will have a field day with the engrossing story of a man who literally died for gastronomy. Carême (1783–1833) was born poor in Paris, and by his late 20s he was already Europe's most famous chef. He cooked for monarchs and noblemen, even baking Napoleon's wedding cake, and his fame dovetailed with the rising interest in gastronomy—what Kelly, a British actor who played a luncheon guest in Howard's End, calls "a cult in want of a priest." Luckily, Carême was also a prodigious author who recorded every major meal and became rich off his cookbooks. Kelly feasts on the wealth of source material; his fine book offers a recipe at the end of each chapter, plus more in an appendix. The scale of Carême's meals will astonish today's readers: he served literally hundreds or even thousands of elaborate dishes for throngs of guests. He'd cook for weeks on end without a break, and Kelly theorizes that he eventually died of "low-level carbon-monoxide poisoning after a lifetime of cooking over charcoal in confined spaces." Worse, this superchef was buried in an unmarked grave and no one attended his funeral (due to a cholera epidemic). But his work wasn't in vain—we can thank Carême for numerous culinary advances, including chef's toques, which he invented, and the course-by-course meal service we're accustomed to today. 18 color and 13 b&w illus.
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