Cover image for Cooking for kings : the life of Antonin Carême, the first celebrity chef
Cooking for kings : the life of Antonin Carême, the first celebrity chef
Kelly, Ian, 1966-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Walker & Co., [2003]

Physical Description:
301 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX649.C37 K44 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"Cuisinier, architect, and one of the most prolific writers of the 19th century, Car#65533;me 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 P#65533;PIN

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 Car#65533;me'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.

Car#65533;me 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.

Car#65533;me'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 Car#65533;me, "You can try them yourself."

Author Notes

Ian Kelly is an actor and writer who has created and acted in a one-man play about Careme. He has lived and worked in Russia, France, 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

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Today's celebrity chefs owe a debt of gratitude to the nineteenth-century pastry master and chef Antonin Careme, who showed the way to fame and fortune by cooking for rich and famous clients and by writing cookbooks for a nascent middle-class audience. Cook from time to time for Napoleon, Talleyrand, and King George IV, Careme is considered the inventor of such culinary standards as the souffle. He is also credited with establishing Russian service in courses as the norm in French restaurants and elegant homes. But chiefly he wrote cookbooks, standardizing French cookery and spreading its principles to a wide European audience. Kelly recounts Careme's rise in turbulent postrevolutionary France and his encounters with the movers and shakers who lionized the young cook's culinary prowess. Kelly also records a smattering of the master's recipes. Although these recipes tend to have instructions too vague for most modern cooks, experienced chefs will recognize the basic concepts of French cooking within them. Cooking history collections will profit from this biography of an original talent. --Mark Knoblauch Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. Car?me (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, Car?me 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 Car?me'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 Car?me 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. Agent, Ivan Mulcahy. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Two hundred years before celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck were cooking on the Food Network, Antonin Careme was feeding Russian tsars, the Paris Rothschilds, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, and Napoleon. In his first book, British actor Kelly, who will perform in an off-Broadway play about Careme this spring, presents a well-researched biography of the one-time orphan who grew up to become the world's highest-paid cook. Famous for inventing the chef's hat, souffl?, and French haute cuisine, Careme was the first chef to gain wealth and international recognition by publishing cookbooks. While very little is known about his personal life-information surrounding his marriages and daughters is scarce-Careme documented his professional life well, keeping detailed accounts of his guests, menus, and ingredients. He even made detailed illustrations of the monumental pastry centerpieces and buffet tables he created. One dinner menu was made up of over 100 dishes, including 80 soups, 40 entrees, eight roasts, and 16 desserts. Included are selections from Careme's recipe books-a fraction of the thousands of recipes he published-as well as color illustrations from the period. A fascinating look at life in 19th-century Europe, this title is recommended for all collections.-Pauline Baughman, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 A Feast for Epicuresp. 9
2 Pastry Boyp. 30
3 Breakfast at Talleyrand'sp. 44
4 Gastronomy: A cult in want of a priestp. 57
5 Chateau Valencay: A year in the Loirep. 67
6 Napoleon's wedding cakep. 81
7 The Russians in Parisp. 92
8 The cook, his book, his wife and his loverp. 102
9 The Brighton Pavilionp. 121
10 Viennoiseriep. 155
11 The Winter Palacep. 164
12 'Right good judges and right good stuffers'p. 183
13 Chateau Rothschildp. 199
14 Last Ordersp. 212
15 Epiloguep. 222
From the Recipe Books of Antonin Caremep. 227
Select Bibliographyp. 278
Acknowledgementsp. 284
List of Illustrationsp. 286
Indexp. 288