Marie-Antoine Carême: the first French chef


But a revolution in the art of pastry occurred thanks to Marie-Antoine Careme (1784-1833), a French pastry chef and chef known as “the chef of kings and the king of chefs.” Having served in the kitchens of Talleyrand, George IV, Rothschild, and the Russian Tsar Alexander I, he was the first to wear the proud prefix “chef.” An early practitioner and prominent exponent of the French concept of high culinary art, he is considered the founder of the majestic and at the same time refined style, which was so beloved by the royal court and the Parisian nobility. Karem became one of the first chefs to gain worldwide fame. He decided to return to the true values of cooking, considering a risen piece of choux pastry as a material for creation. It was no coincidence that I remembered specifically about choux pastry – the “king of chefs” gave us a truly royal gift in the form of a recipe for eclairs and Carême: the first French chef

Fun fact: it was Marie-Antoine Carême who was the first to firmly unite French and Russian culinary traditions. The fact is that for quite a long time “serving in French” meant serving all the dishes on the table at once in one go. While “serving in Russian” meant serving each dish on the table in the order as indicated on the menu. Karem began to popularize the second option, starting from the customs of the Russian court, where he served for some time. And today it is precisely this kind of presentation that is considered traditional French all over the world.

The main confectionery revolution of the Second Empire occurred at the moment when dessert took its real place on every menu. It was enough to open any card of a Parisian restaurant: Napoleon cake, sponge cake, pistachio cream, almond cake, ice cream, etc.


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