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Cooking for Kings


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About the Author

Ian Kelly is an actor and writer who has created and acted in a one-man play about Careme at New York City's 59E59 Theaters. He has lived and worked in France, Russia, South America and the United States, and writes frequently about food and travel for many British publications, including the Times and the Guardian.

He currently lives in London with his wife and son. The son of academics, Kelly was brought up in Philadelphia, Bristol and Liverpool, and is a graduate of Cambridge University, where he studied 17th and 18th century British and European history. He holds an M.A. in Theater, Film, and Television from UCLA's film school, and has appeared in the films Howard's End, Attenborough's In Love and War, Dennis Potter's Cold Lazarus and was nominated for Best Actor at the 2002 Montreal Film Festival for his performance as a British hostage in Chechnya in the award-winning Russian epic Voina (The War). His stage work includes playing Henry V for the English Shakespeare Company; another Best Actor nomination for Tom Stoppard's Arcadia; and championing the lost 1800 comedy A Busy Day from fringe to West End. Kelly's adaptation of Justin Cartwright's Whitbread nominated novel In Every Face I Meet was shortlisted for the Orange Screenwriting Prize. Cooking for Kings is his first book.Ian was recently featured on CBS Sunday Morning, CBS TV. He has also written and presented THE REGENCY BANQUET, a syndicated program for Channel 4 in the UK, and A TASTE OF HISTORY!, a new regular feature on the Richard & Judy Show which looks at the history of food and the food historical figures would have themselves eaten.


Two hundred years before celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck were cooking on the Food Network, Antonin Careme was feeding Russian tsars, the Paris Rothschilds, Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand, and Napoleon. In his first book, British actor Kelly, who will perform in an off-Broadway play about Careme this spring, presents a well-researched biography of the one-time orphan who grew up to become the world's highest-paid cook. Famous for inventing the chef's hat, souffl?, and French haute cuisine, Careme was the first chef to gain wealth and international recognition by publishing cookbooks. While very little is known about his personal life-information surrounding his marriages and daughters is scarce-Careme documented his professional life well, keeping detailed accounts of his guests, menus, and ingredients. He even made detailed illustrations of the monumental pastry centerpieces and buffet tables he created. One dinner menu was made up of over 100 dishes, including 80 soups, 40 entrees, eight roasts, and 16 desserts. Included are selections from Careme's recipe books-a fraction of the thousands of recipes he published-as well as color illustrations from the period. A fascinating look at life in 19th-century Europe, this title is recommended for all collections.-Pauline Baughman, Multnomah Cty. Lib., Portland, OR Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Readers who enjoy being privy to the evocative details of a past era will devour this book, and foodies will have a field day with the engrossing story of a man who literally died for gastronomy. Car?me (1783-1833) was born poor in Paris, and by his late 20s he was already Europe's most famous chef. He cooked for monarchs and noblemen, even baking Napoleon's wedding cake, and his fame dovetailed with the rising interest in gastronomy what Kelly, a British actor who played a luncheon guest in Howard's End, calls "a cult in want of a priest." Luckily, Car?me was also a prodigious author who recorded every major meal and became rich off his cookbooks. Kelly feasts on the wealth of source material; his fine book offers a recipe at the end of each chapter, plus more in an appendix. The scale of Car?me's meals will astonish today's readers: he served literally hundreds or even thousands of elaborate dishes for throngs of guests. He'd cook for weeks on end without a break, and Kelly theorizes that he eventually died of "low-level carbon-monoxide poisoning after a lifetime of cooking over charcoal in confined spaces." Worse, this superchef was buried in an unmarked grave and no one attended his funeral (due to a cholera epidemic). But his work wasn't in vain we can thank Car?me for numerous culinary advances, including chef's toques, which he invented, and the course-by-course meal service we're accustomed to today. 18 color and 13 b&w illus. Agent, Ivan Mulcahy. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

"A diverting, often eye-opening, glimpse of a turbulent era commingling revolution, reaction, elegance and excess."
"The narrative is a satisfying course by itself."

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