Auguste Escoffier Essay, Research Paper
Auguste Escoffier was born on October 28, 1846, in the village of Villeneuve-Loubet, France. He was the son of Jean-Baptiste Escoffier and his wife Madeleine Civatte. His father was the villages blacksmith, farrier, locksmith, and maker of agricultural tools. Escoffier’s childhood dream was to become a sculptor. Unfortunately he was forced to give up that dream at the age of thirteen, just after he celebrated his first Holy Communion Escoffier was told he was going to be a cook.
Although he did not want to, Escoffier started work as a kitchen apprentice at his uncle’s Restaurant Francais in Nice. Escoffier learned a great deal from his apprenticeship by working hard and determination to succeed. He realized the significant role a good cook could play in society. Escoffier’s uncle also taught him how to buy for a restaurant. Escoffier learned all of the responsibilities in a restaurant, even table service.
After completing his four year apprenticeship, Escoffier works for two years at various restaurants in Nice, such as Cercle Massena and Les Freres Provencaux. In April of 1865 Escoffier is recommended by M. Bardoux for work at his up-scale Parisian restaurant Le Petit Moulin Rouge in Paris. Here he worked his way up the ranks of the kitchen until the Franco- Prussian war in 1870.
When the Franco-Prussian war broke out Escoffier was called into active duty as an army cook in the Rhine Army General Headquarters. He was shipped directly to Metz, where he was in charge of the Second Division’s food supply with a fellow chef and his good friend, Bouniol. At Metz Escoffier witnessed the horrors of war and the toll it takes on a man’s spirit. Escoffier also had to deal with food shortages and rationing while Metz was under siege, when supplies ran out he had to resort to slaughtering horses for food. After the four month siege at Metz the French Army occupying the city surrendered, all of the soldiers became prisoners of war including Escoffier.
Due to the fact that Escoffier was considered an officers orderly he had special rights and privileges. When Metz was evacuated, Escoffier was permitted to travel by train to meet up with his assigned officer in Mainz, only to find out his officer had been obliged to leave Mainz while his orderlies stayed at the prison camp. Life was hard at the camp, they only got one meal every 24-36 hours and the food was rancid most of the time. When Escoffier was finally permitted to work he found a job at the Kursaal in Wiesbaden. The Kursaal was a very elegant restaurant in the posh resort village of Wiesbaden. Escoffier was barely at the Kursaal ten days when MacMahon arrived in Wiesbaden and hired him as his chef de cuisine. There he spent the remainder of the war.
After the peace treaty was signed Escoffier boarded a train bound for France. When he reached Paris, Escoffier found that rioters had taken over the city. He immediately left the city and rejoined the army becoming chef de cuisine of Colonel Comte de Waldner.
After discharging from the army once again Escoffier returned to Nice and spent the winter season as chef de cuisine at Hotel Luxembourg.
When Escoffier finally returned to Paris he re-opened Le Petit Moulin Rouge. Some of Le Petit Moulin Rouge’s customers included Duc de Morny, the Prince of Wales, MacMahon, Gambetta, and Sarah Bernhardt. Three years after re-opening Le Petit Moulin Rouge he opens his own restaurant, Le Faisan Dore located in Cannes. Somehow he manages to divide his time between Le Petit Moulin Rouge and Le Faisan Dore.
In August of 1878, thirteen days after leaving Le Petit Moulin Rouge for the last time, Escoffier gets married at the age of 31. His bride, Delphine Daffis, is the oldest daughter of the very prominent editor, Paul Daffis. Later they will have two sons and a daughter together: Paul, Daniel, and Germaine. After only being married two months, Escoffier’s father-in-law and both Delphine’s sisters, the older one only three years old, died within five months of each other. Because of these events Escoffier was forced to give up his business in Cannes.
By a stroke of luck Escoffier lands the position of manager of La Maison Chevet. La Maison Chevet was a famous caterer at the Palais Royale in Paris. It’s specialty was catering meals in various capitals in Europe. One year later he becomes chef de cuisine at the Restaurant Maire in Paris, owned by a Mr. Paillard. Two years after that he founded the culinary magazine L’Art Culinaire in Paris.
In 1884 Escoffier joins the Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo as chef de cuisine. It is here he meets Cesar Ritz, manager of the hotel. For the next four years the two travel back and forth every year between the Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo in the winter and the Hotel National in Lucerne(Switzerland) in the summer. In 1890 Ritz becomes manager of the Savory Hotel in London and asks Escoffier to take over the management of the kitchen. The Savory quickly became the place to be if you were one of the international elite. In his life time Escoffier created approximately 10,000 recipes, some of the most famous were concocted in the kitchen of the Savory Hotel. One might recognize such names as “Filets de sole Coquelin”, “Supremes de volaille Jeannette”, and the most famous of all “Peche Melba”. In 1897 when Ritz creates his own development company and leaves the Savory because of disagreements with the owners, Escoffier and the other managers follow.
On June 5, 1898 the Hotel Ritz in Paris opens with Escoffier running the kitchens, that he organized himself. The Hotel Ritz was an immediate success. A year later Ritz and Escoffier returned to London to complete the Carlton Hotel and open it on July 1, 1899. Once again Escoffier runs the kitchens, only this time he stays until 1920. Between 1899 and 1920 Escoffier publishes Le Guide Culinaire and Livre des Menus, organizes the kitchens on ocean liners and opens the Ritz-Carlton in New York.
In 1920 Escoffier retired to Monte Carlo, where he lived out the rest of his years, despite a few trips to America. On February 12, 1935 Auguste Escoffier dies at the age of 88, just two weeks after his wife passed away.