Note: This edition of The Epicurean has been updated to include Metric equivalents.
“A complete treatise of analytical and practical studies of the culinary art. Includes table and wine service, how to prepare and cook dishes, a great variety of menus for breakfasts, luncheons, dinners, suppers, ambigues, buffets, etc., and a selection of interesting menus of Delmonico's Restaurant, from 1862 to 1894.
“A Franco-American encyclopedia of cooking, containing more than 3,700 recipes and more than 800 illustrations, by Charles Ranhofer, former chef of Delmonico's and honorary president of the ‘Société Culinaire Philanthropique’ of New York.”
This book, The Epicurean, is similar in scope to Escoffier's Le Guide Culinaire, but was published nearly ten years before Escoffier’s book. It is only available in this extensively cross-referenced digital format exclusively here on the iBooks Store. Jam-packed with more than 3,700 recipes and 800 illustrations! It’s a fascinating look back to an era of sumptuous dinners and desserts. Download a sample copy and have a look inside!
He was the greatest chef of his time, and he worked at the finest restaurant in America. He was Charles Ranhofer, (born 7 November 1836, died 9 October 1899), chef of the world-renowned Delmonico's Restaurant in New York City.
Ranhofer arrived in America in 1856, first working for a Russian diplomat in New York City, then for a Washington, D.C. restaurant and a private family in New Orleans. After spending some time in his home country of France in 1860, he returned to New York and in 1862, Lorenzo Delmonico hired him for Delmonico's Restaurant, (which was the very first restaurant or public dining room ever opened in the United States); at that time, Delmonico's was considered the finest restaurant in the nation. Despite his young age, 26, Ranhofer had extensive experience, having begun his career as a child and running Paris restaurants and the kitchens of European royalty. He was the chef at Delmonico's until his retirement in 1896, except for a short time from 1876 to 1879 when he owned the "Hotel American" at Enghien-les-Bains, France.
Delmonico’s reputation as the finest American restaurant, most nearly resembling the top restaurants in London and Paris, was built largely during Ranhofer’s employment.
Ranhofer invented or made famous a number of dishes that Delmonico's was known for, such as Lobster Newberg, Baked Alaska, Delmonico Steak, and Eggs Benedict. He had a talent for naming dishes after famous or prominent people — particularly those who dined at Delmonico's — as well as his friends, and events of the day. He also invented a new way of dining: he allowed customers to order items à la carte, instead of having to take whatever the kitchen was cooking that day.