Escoffier

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Escoffier


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 including Escoffier.


Due to the fact that Escoffier was considered an officers orderly he had special rights
and privileges. When Metz was evacuated, Escoffier was permitted to travel by train to
meet up with his assigned officer in Mainz, only to find out his officer had been obliged
to leave Mainz while his orderlies stayed at the prison camp. Life was hard at the camp,
they only got one meal every 24-36 hours and the food was rancid most of the time. When
Escoffier was finally permitted to work he found a job at the Kursaal in Wiesbaden. The
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