Ritz & Escoffier: The Hotelier, the Chef & the Rise of the Leisure Class (Paperback)
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A larger-than-life, richly detailed culinary history, Ritz and Escoffier tells the story of two men whose partnership redefined luxury French cuisine and hotel service at the turn of the twentieth century. Bestselling author (Provence, 1970) and former Travel and Leisure editor Luke Barr transports us to Belle Epoque London, where the Savoy Hotel opens in 1889 with Cesar Ritz as hotel manager and Auguste Escoffier as chef. Rising from poverty and guided by great talent and ambition, the two men helped make the Savoy a mecca for cosmopolitan London. Aristocrats and industrialists mingled with artists and writers, helping spawn the modern luxury hotel and restaurant and signaling the rise of the upwardly mobile middle class. Escoffier’s menus democratized luxury, offering such dishes as cuisses de nymphes à l’Aurore and supremes de volaille en gelée à L’Alsacienne to anyone with the money to pay for them and changing the role of restaurants.
Barr’s book is well-researched and thoroughly entertaining, bringing his protagonists and the glittering world they inhabited thrillingly to life. There is no shortage of drama, scandal, and deliciously detailed descriptions of high society and the food they consumed. For anyone interested in the foundations of modern-day luxury cuisine and hospitality, this book makes a delightfully engrossing read.
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