Memoirs of Alexis Soyer: With Unpublished Receipts and Odds and Ends of Gastronomy by Alexis Soyer
Perhaps the first celebrity chef, Alexis Soyer (1810-58) was a flamboyant, larger-than-life character who nonetheless took his profession very seriously. As the chef of the Reform Club, he modernised its kitchens, installing refrigerators and gas cookers. In 1851, during the Great Exhibition, he prepared spectacular (but financially ruinous) culinary extravaganzas at his restaurant, the Gastronomic Symposium of All Nations. In stark contrast, he organised soup kitchens during the Great Famine in Ireland and volunteered his services in the Crimea in 1855 to improve military catering. He was also a prolific inventor of kitchen gadgets, notably promoting the Magic Stove, used for cooking food at the table. Several of his highly popular cookery books have been reissued in this series. Following his death, his secretaries Francois Volant and James Warren published this anecdotal and admiring biography in 1859, together with recipes and other cookery writings.