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Famous Chefs – Marie-Antoine Carême

Marie-Antoine Carême was probably the first true Chef. He lived between 1784 and 1833 and he cooked for the most important people of his time: Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Napoleon, King George IV, Tsar Alexander I or James Mayer Rothschild. Also, Carême is famous for his books that not only include recipes and techniques of the culinary art, but also details regarding kitchens (for example, he is responsible for the white standard and some design particularities still used today in cooking apparel).

Although he had humble beginnings and he made his first steps in a small restaurant, he started spreading his wings once he became the apprentice of a famous pastry chef. He too started to become famous thanks to his fabulous centerpieces that were shown off in the pastry shop‘s windows.

One of his first great challenges was to create a one-year menu, without repeating any recipe and using only seasonal produce. Of course, he passed the test and then went on to achieve greatness thanks to his innovations that revolutionized gastronomy.

He was one of the pioneers of the grande cuisine concept, meaning richness, elegance and stylish ornaments. He separated himself from “Barbaric cooking” and shaped cooking as an art. Also, he organized sauces in four main categories (espagnoleveloutéallemande și béchamel),he experimented with different herbs and spices, he created unique recipes for soups, sauces and desserts, he made the service à la russe (serving the courses in a succession) famous instead of service à la française (serving the courses all at once)and so on.

He truly was a Chef dedicated to his calling and the end, too soon, was probably a consequence of his constant exposure to the fumes resulted in cooking with charcoal since he spent so much time in his beloved kitchens.

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