Relish: The Extraordinary Life of Alexis Soyer, Victorian Celebrity Chef

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9780753821961: Relish: The Extraordinary Life of Alexis Soyer, Victorian Celebrity Chef
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Rarely has a man defined the spirit of an age as well as Alexis Soyer. A celebrity chef, bestselling author, entrepreneur, inventor, and Crimean war hero, Soyer built the world famous kitchens of London's Reform Club and filled them with such ingenious inventions as the gas stove and steam lifts. In the 1840s he established soup kitchens during the Irish potato famine a revolutionary concept at the time and in the following decade risked his life by traveling to the Russian peninsula to reform army catering for the troops, saving thousands of soldiers from the effects of malnutrition. But Soyer in the spirit of his age was also a secret womanizer, near bankrupt, and an alcoholic. Despite the fame of his lifetime, Soyer dropped completely from the public eye after his untimely death. His friend Florence Nightingale, never one to praise lightly, wrote that his passing was "a great disaster for the nation." Despite making several fortunes Soyer died penniless. His personal papers were destroyed, his funeral a hushed-up affair, and today his grave lies neglected and rotting. This is the story of one of the Victorian age’s most favored and soon forgotten shining stars.

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About the Author:

Ruth Cowen has written for numerous newspapers, including the Financial Times, The Independent, the Guardian, and the Evening Standard.

Review:

"A riveting book with all the elements of a Hollywood Oscar winner."  —Clarissa Dickson Wright, chef, BBC's Two Fat Ladies

"The most admirable and attractive of all chefs has been given an equally admirable and attractive biography."  —A. A. Gill, restaurant reviewer, The Sunday Times

"Engrossing biography . . . A sybarite and dandy with a social conscience and hustling entrepreneurial streak, Soyer was an intriguing, contradictory figure."  —Financial Times

"Ruth Cowen has brought Alexis Soyer back to life with the kind of flourish he would have appreciated."  —Sunday Telegraph

"Excellent, entertaining and vivid . . . colourful, compassionate, generous, inventive, indefatigable. Now at last [Soyer] has the biography he deserves."  —Sunday Times

"[Cowen] has crafted a filling dish . . . Cowen captures the curious combination of his astute commercial skills . . . and his selfless philanthropy"  —Sunday Express

"Ruth Cowen guides us elegantly through the turbulent, intoxicating life of this brilliant but flawed man"  —Jill Turton

"The story of [Soyer's] vigorous life is a potent one, and Cowen's comprehensive, sensitive recording of it is long overdue."  —Daily Telegraph

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9781474609425: Relish: The Extraordinary Life of Alexis Soyer, Victorian Celebrity Chef

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  1474609422 ISBN 13:  9781474609425
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2019
Softcover

9780297645627: Relish: The Extraordinary Life of Alexis Soyer, Victorian Celebrity Chef

Orion ..., 2008
Hardcover

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