Soyer, Alexis Benoit
SOYER, ALEXIS BENOIT (1800-1858), French culinary artist, was born at Meaux-en-Brie, France, in October 1809. After five years' apprenticeship as a cook near Versailles, he was engaged by a well-known Paris restaurateur, and soon became chief cook. Leaving France at the revolution of 1830, he went to London and joined his brother in the kitchen of the duke of Cambridge. Subsequently he was cook in several noblemen's kitchens, and in 1837 was made chef to the Reform Club, London. In 1847, having written several letters to the press on the famine in Ireland, he was commissioned by the government to establish kitchens in Dublin. In 1850 he resigned his position at the Reform Club, and the following year opened Gore House, Kensington, as a restaurant, but this venture did not prove a success. In 1855 he offered, through the medium of The Times, to proceed at his own expense to the Crimea and advise on the cooking for the British army there. His services were accepted by the government. On returning from the front he lectured at the United Service Institution on cooking for the services, and reformed the dietary of the military hospitals, and of the emigration commissioners. He died in London on the 5th of August 1858. Soyer was the inventor of an army cooking wagon, and the author of a variety of cookery books. His wife, Elizabeth Emma Soyer, achieved considerable popularity as a painter, chiefly of portraits.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)