Sunday 11 December 2016

Mary Kenny: king of cooks, cook to kings

The rags-to-riches tale of Antonin Carême, the original celebrity chef

Published 27/03/2016 | 02:30

Mary Kenny
Mary Kenny

Easter and the pleasures of food, after the privations of Lent! That was how it used to be: now we have a foodie culture all year round. The father of the classic art of French cuisine, Antonin Carême, would not have approved. He believed that food should always be eaten according to season. Well, he lived before the era of refrigeration - born just before the French Revolution of 1789.

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Each spring, in France, the prestige that Carême brought to the art of cooking is recalled: there's a society of grand chefs which meets to honour his memory.

If you're indulging in a soufflé, eating a cream meringue, scoffing a vol-au-vent, enjoying a flan or a rum baba, or doing anything with a sauce béchamel over this weekend, you're paying due respects to Antonin Carême who developed all such gourmet dishes. Our celebrity chefs of today are but following in his footsteps - wearing the very toque he invented for the job.

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