Carême, Marie-Antoine

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

Carême, Marie-Antoine (1783/4–1833), christened Marie-Antoine but nearly always known as Antonin, styled himself the “Palladio of patisserie” and has some claim to be the father of modern French confectionery. He was pastry chef to Charles-Maurice Talleyrand, Napoleon’s foreign minister, and his fame spread first via the diplomatic corps as a result of his skill as a sculptor and scenic artist working with sugar as his medium. In truth his primary gift may have been as a self-publicist as much as confectioner, which is why he is also known as the first “celebrity” chef. Carême exploited his connections to forge a successful publishing career, arguably the first chef to find mass market appeal during the gastronomic publishing boom of the early nineteenth century, itself connected to the era’s obsession with decorative confectionery.