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Marie-Antoine Carême, First Celebrity Chef

December 19, 2011

 “the King of Chefs, and the Chef of Kings”

“When we no longer have good cooking in the world, we will have no literature, nor high and sharp intelligence, nor friendly gathering, nor social harmony”

Marie Antonin Carême


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Marie Antonin Carême (1783-1833), often called the father of French cuisine, was one of the most prolific food writers of the 19th century. During his long career, he was chef for Talleyrand, Czar Alexander I, George IV, and Baron Rothschild.

Life

He was abandoned in Paris at the age of 8 and began working as a kitchen boy in a Parisian steakhouse. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to Sylvain Bailly, a famous patissier in Paris.

Carême codified the four primary families of French sauces that form the basis of classic French cooking to this day–espagnole, vélouté, allemande, and béchamel. Thanks to Carême’s books, French chefs working at home and abroad had a basic, shared vocabulary to refer to in their cooking.

Marie-Antoine Careme is famed for being the inventor of classical cuisine.

Careme opened his own shop, Patisserie de la Rue de la Paix, which became famous for his beautifully crafted pieces montees. He created these decorative centrepieces out of materials such as nougat, marzipan, sugar and pastry. Careme was inspired by architectural history and modelled many of his creations on temples, pyramids and ancient ruins. Some of his most famous creations include Gros Nougats, Grosses Meringues, Croquants (made with almonds and honey) and solilemmes (a bun like cake.)

Careme crafted pieces for Parisian high society, including Napoleon. A French diplomat and gourmand, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord set Careme a test, to produce a year’s worth of menu only using seasonal produce. Careme passed and Talleyrand adopted him into his kitchens. After the fall of Napoleon, Careme moved to London in 1815 and he worked as a chef de cuisine for George IV. He left London 3 years later as he found the climate depressing and felt English chefs treated him badly due to the celebrity attention he received.

Gastronomical Contrtibutions:

The dessert Charlotte russe was invented by Marie Antoine Carême who named it in honor of his Russian employer Czar Alexander I. Russe being the French word for “Russian”.

The famous Charlotte, creation from Careme

Careme is also credited with inventing the French classic desert Napoleon Cake (Mille Feuille) while working as Napoleon’s chef. Napoleon like to eat Mille Feuille with strawberry favor, so it was named Napoleon cake. It has various flavours, from chocholate, strawbery, mango to berry.

Careme was also interested in Architecture and applied it to dessert with is very impressive pieces montees and other creations that fascinated his contemporaries,

Books:

Antonin Carême wrote important culinary books

1815 Le Pâtissier Royal Parisien

The Patissier Royal Parisien, or treated elementary and practice of ancient and modern patisserie, the dessert of sugar, and cold starters and bases, followed by observations useful to the progress of this art

1815 Le Pâtissier Pittoresque

1822 Le Maître d’Hôtel Français

1828 Le Cuisinier Parisien

1833 L’Art de la Cuisine Française au dix-neuvième siècle, l’ouvrage fut achevé par Plumerey, élevé de la maison du Prince de Talleyrand et ancien chef des cuisines de madame la Princesse de Poniatowski

L’Art de la Cuisine Français au Dix-Neuvième Siècle is an exhaustive survey of classic French cooking. Published near the end of Carême’s career as a master pâtissier and chef, the three-volume work was completed after his death by his friend and colleague Armand Plumerey.

1848 La Cuisine Ordinaire par Beauvilliers et Antonin Carême

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