Crème Du Carême | An Evening Feasting With The First Celebrity Chef
Marie-Antoine Carême is a man who needs no introduction…
…to anyone who’s recently been to 19th century Paris.
For everyone else, here it is: Carême, born in 1784, is widely considered to be the world’s first ‘celebrity chef’. He was the first chef to draw crowds on name value alone and be handpicked to cook for people in high-profile positions. He’s seen by many as the founder of fancy French food (still influencing many French restaurants in London today), and he was also the first one to really place an emphasis on making his food look just as good as it tastes. Yes, he might not have his own series of TV shows like Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver, or even his own Michelin-starred restaurant called Carême by Carême, but who can blame the guy.
And for one night only – Saturday 18th March – you’ll be able to eat some of his most famous dishes on the rooftop of Soho’s bougie private members club, The Century Club. They’ll be serving up the ‘Crème Du Carême’, presented with a side of history courtesy of Carême’s only English language biographer, Ian Kelly. Kelly is an expert on Carême (he’s currently in the midst of creating a TV series in Paris about him) and will run you through each course with tidbits about the French chef’s life and legacy.
Going way, way back into the archives here, Carême rose to fame by cooking for almost every European king and political leader of his era (Napoleon, Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Prince Regent, George IV). If you were royalty or an important figure in the mid-18th century, in need of the best possible meal, Carême was your guy. He’s credited for inventing the four mother sauces (béchamel, velouté, espagnole, tomato) that form the backbone of haute cuisine and he’s behind many of the French pastries that you see luring you in from the windows of London’s best bakeries. The choux, profiteroles and mille-feuilles of this world.
Back to Crème du Carême… Obviously, Carême won’t be there. While they haven’t managed to bring him back from the dead in a secret lab hidden within the premises, The Century Club’s executive chef Charlie Boyce will be preparing the three-course menu instead. He’s a man who also needs no introduction.
But again, if he did: he was born in Zimbabwe, was a protégé of Paul Merrett (another celeb chef) and he was formerly Executive Chef at Aussie all-day spots Lantana for five years…
NOTE: ‘Crème Du Carême: An Evening Feasting With The First Celebrity Chef’ takes place on 18th March from 7.30pm at The Century Club (you do not need to be a member to attend). Tickets cost £60 and can be purchased here.
The Century Club | 61-63 Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 6LQ
What to do afterwards? You could always check out one of the best bars in Soho
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