Escoffier, Auguste

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

Escoffier, Auguste (1846–1935) the most famous chef of the period from 1890 to 1920. He worked for the first part of this time in partnership with César Ritz, the gifted hotel manager. They took over the new Savoy Hotel in London in 1890. They were dismissed together in 1897, in circumstances distressing for Escoffier, who was aware that the owners had built up a dossier of evidence that he took an illegal ‘cut’ of 5 per cent on supplies for the kitchen. The authoritative account of this scandal by Levy (1986) makes fascinating reading. However, after a short break, Ritz and Escoffier continued their joint work at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, and Escoffier remained there, famous and revered, until his retirement in 1920. Meanwhile, his comprehensive book Le Guide culinaire (1903), which reflected essentially the cuisine of a grand hotel in the 1890s, became the bible of chefs trained in the classical French tradition. In contrast, his later work, Ma Cuisine (1934) was for domestic cooks.