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  • Topic: Savoy Hotel, Chef, Hôtel Ritz Paris
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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Auguste Escoffier

Auguste Escoffier was born on October 28, 1846, in the village of Villeneuve-Loubet, France. He was the son of Jean-Baptiste Escoffier and his wife Madeleine Civatte. His father was the villages blacksmith, farrier, locksmith, and maker of agricultural tools. Escoffier's childhood dream was to become a sculptor. Unfortunately he was forced to give up that dream at the age of thirteen, just after he celebrated his first Holy Communion Escoffier was told he was going to be a cook.

Although he did not want to, Escoffier started work as a kitchen apprentice at his uncle's Restaurant Francais in Nice. Escoffier learned a great deal from his apprenticeship by working hard and determination to succeed. He realized the significant role a good cook could play in society. Escoffier's uncle also taught him how to buy for a restaurant. Escoffier learned all of the responsibilities in a restaurant, even table service.

After completing his four year apprenticeship, Escoffier works for two years at various restaurants in Nice, such as Cercle Massena and Les Freres Provencaux. In April of 1865 Escoffier is recommended by M. Bardoux for work at his up-scale Parisian restaurant Le Petit Moulin Rouge in Paris. Here he worked his way up the ranks of the kitchen until the Franco- Prussian war in 1870.

When the Franco-Prussian war broke out Escoffier was called into active duty as an army cook in the Rhine Army General Headquarters. He was shipped directly to Metz, where he was in charge of the Second Division's food supply with a fellow chef and his good friend, Bouniol. At Metz Escoffier witnessed the horrors of war and the toll it takes on a man's spirit. Escoffier also had to deal with food shortages and rationing while Metz was under siege, when supplies ran out he had to resort to slaughtering horses for food. After the four month siege at Metz the French Army occupying the city surrendered, all of the soldiers became prisoners of war...
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