Antonin Careme: The First Celebrity Chef

Biography Highlights Career of a 19th-Century Culinary Star

Ian Kelly prepares back stage for his one-man show about Careme.

hide captionIan Kelly prepares backstage for his one-man play about Careme, Cooking for Kings.

Andrea Hsu, NPR

Whisk back in culinary time from Nigella Lawson, through Julia Child, past Auguste Escoffier, and give a deep tip of the chef's toque to Antonin Careme — a man who's billed as the first celebrity chef.

He made his fame in the early 19th century, cooking for royalty and the very rich. Careme baked Napoleon's wedding cake, and dazzled Britain's future King George IV at Brighton's Royal Pavilion. He created masterpieces for the Romanovs in St. Petersburg and souffles flecked with real gold for the Rothschilds in Paris. And through his cookbooks published in Paris, Careme grew famous.

British actor and writer Ian Kelly has written a biography: The Life of Antonin Careme, the First Celebrity Chef. NPR's Melissa Block, host of All Things Considered, talks with Kelly, who also stars in a one-man play he's written about Careme.

Available Online

From the Recipe Books of Antonin Careme

Les Petits Vol-Au-Vents a la Nesle
Brighton Pavilion and Chateau Rothschild

20 vol-au-vent cases, the diameter of a glass
20 cocks-combs
20 cocks-stones (testes)
10 lambs sweetbreads (thymus and pancreatic glands, washed in water for five hours, until the liquid runs clear)
10 small truffles, pared, chopped, boiled in consomme
20 tiny mushrooms
20 lobster tails
4 fine whole lambs' brains, boiled and chopped
1 French loaf
2 spoonfuls chicken jelly
2 spoonfuls veloute sauce
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped mushrooms
4 egg yolks
2 chickens, boned
2 calves' udders
2 pints cream
sauce Allemande
salt, nutmeg

Forcemeat:

Crumb a whole French loaf. Add two spoonfuls of poultry jelly, one of veloute, one tablespoon of chopped parsley, two of mushrooms, chopped. Boil and stir as it thickens to a ball. Add two egg yolks. Pound the flesh of two boned chickens through a sieve. Boil two calves' udders — once cold, pound and pass through a sieve.

Then, mix six ounces of the breadcrumbs panada to ten ounces of the chicken meat, and ten of the calves' udders and combine and pound for 15 minutes. Add five drams of salt, some nutmeg and the yolks of two more eggs and a spoonful of cold veloute or bechamel. Pound for a further ten minutes. Test by poaching a ball in boiling water — it should form soft, smooth balls.

Make some balls of poultry forcemeat in small coffee spoons, dip them in jelly broth and after draining on a napkin, place them regularly in the vol-au-vent, already half filled with:

a good ragout of cocks-combs and stones (testicles)
lambs' sweetbreads (thymus and pancreatic glands, washed in water for five hours, until the liquid runs clear)
truffles
mushrooms
lobster tails
four fine whole brains

Cover all with an extra thick sauce Allemande.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: