Biographies


Browse alphabetically our collection of biographies about chefs, food writers, teachers and manufacturers. Or search

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  • Bartolomeo Scappi
    Bartolomeo ScappiBartolomeo Scappi (circa 1500 - 1570) was a Renaissance Italian author and cook. During his career, he cooked for six popes, and in fact was cooking at the Vatican at the same time as Michelangelo Buonarroti was working on the Sistine Chapel.
  • Bick's Pickles
    Bick's PicklesBick's are the top line of pickle products in Canada, though the product has been made in the United States from 2012 onwards. As of 2010, Bick's make 41 different products: pickles, relishes, and speciality items.
  • Billy Reed
    Biography iconBilly Reed's was probably the first restaurant in America to serve Caesar Salad, and certainly popularized it as the press became aware that the stars eating there were consuming this garlic salad. At Billy Reed's, Judy Garland met Sid Luft (her husband from 1952 to 1965), a piano player named Cy Coleman (1929 to 2004) got his first job playing cocktail lounge music (before he went on to write songs such as Witchcraft, The Best is yet to Come, Hey, Look Me Over, and Big Spender,) and the world first got a look at a singer named Doris Day.
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  • Catherine de Medici
    Catherine de MediciCatherine de Medici is credited with introducing many food innovations to France. She's said to have taught the French how to eat with a fork, and introduced foods and dishes such as artichokes, aspics, baby peas, broccoli, cakes, candied vegetables, cream puffs, custards, ices, lettuce, milk-fed veal, melon seeds, parsley, pasta, puff pastry, quenelles, scallopine, sherbet, spinach, sweetbreads, truffles and zabaglione.
  • Catherine Emily Callbeck Dalgairns
    Catherine Emily Callbeck DalgairnsCatherine Emily Callbeck Dalgairns wrote The Practice of Cookery Adapted to the Business of Every-day Life. It was published in 1829, and republished up until 1860.
  • César Ritz
    César RitzCésar Ritz was the first, great modern hotelier. He created the concept of the grand hotel, which turned out to also be the perfect stage for the grande cuisine being created by his business partner, Auguste Escoffier.
  • Charles Elmé Francatelli
    Charles Elmé FrancatelliDespite his name and his French training, Charles Elmé Francatelli was English by nationality. He wrote several important cookbooks, and held in succession three of the most prestigious cooking positions in England at the time.
  • Charles E. Hires
    Charles E. HiresCharles E. Hires was the first person to brew root beer commercially, though he didn't invent root beer -- everyone had a home recipe for it.
  • Charles Mason Hovey
    Charles Mason HoveyCharles Mason Hovey was born 26 October 1810, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is known today for his plant breeding and promotion, particularly with strawberries.
  • Charles Ranhofer
    Charles RanhoferCharles Ranhofer was chef at the famous Delmonico's Restaurant in New York, and author of a popular cookbook titled The Epicurean. Chronology of his life 1836 -- Charles was born in St-Denis, France.
  • Clarissa Dickson Wright
    Clarissa Dickson WrightClarissa Dickson Wright (24 June 1947 – 15 March 2014) gained overnight fame as one of the two principals on the TV series called Two Fat Ladies. Besides being a TV personality, she was also a food historian, a scholar and an archivist.
  • Clementine Paddleford
    Clementine PaddlefordClementine Haskin Paddleford (27 September 1898 - 13 November 1967) was an American food writer and editor. She pioneered the way for writing about food as an interesting, fun topic in itself.
  • Constance Spry
    Biography iconConstance Spry lived from 5 December 1886 - 3 January 1960. She was an English food writer, and flower-arranger.
  • Crosse & Blackwell
    Biography iconCrosse & Blackwell is the brand name of a well-known British line of foodstuffs. The business was actually founded in 1706 as the West and Wyatt grocery business, which made and sold among other things condiments and pickles during the 1700s.
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  • Delia Smith
    Delia SmithSo large a national icon is Delia Smith in the United Kingdom, that the wonder is that she remains unknown across the pond in America or Canada. She focusses on British classics, while being open to new approaches and ingredients.
  • Delmonico's Restaurant
    Delmonico's RestaurantFounded by Swiss immigrants in 1824, Delmonico's Restaurant was the first luxury restaurant in New York, and for almost 100 years defined haute cuisine in America. Dishes invented at Delmonico's include Baked Alaska, Delmonico Potatoes, Delmonico Steak, Eggs Benedict and Lobster Newburg.
  • Dione Lucas
    Dione LucasDione Lucas (née Wilson, 10 October 1909 - 18 December 1971) was a food writer, teacher and a Cordon Bleu graduate. She was born at the British Consulate in Venice, Italy and raised in France.
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  • Egon Ronay
    Biography iconEgon Ronay (1916 to 2010) was one of the world's most famous restaurant reviewers, and publisher of a series of restaurants guides that spanned 40 years. Many of the guides had sponsors, though the sponsors were all unrelated to the hotel and food industry, and Ronay would not accept advertisements from hotels or restaurants.
  • Elena Molokhovets
    Biography iconElena Ivanovna Molokhovets is Russia's equivalent to America's Fannie Farmer and Britain's Mrs Beeton. Elena was born in 1831.
  • Eliza Acton
    Eliza ActonEliza Acton was born 17th April 1799 in Battle, East Sussex, England; she died 13 February 1859 in Hampstead, England (now a suburb of London.) She was the author of two cookbooks: Modern Cookery for Private Families (1845) The English Bread Book (1857) She grew up in Ipswich, Norwich, where her father, originally from Hasting, had moved to work as a partner in a wine and brewery business. Around 1817, at the age of 18, she and a friend opened their own boarding school just a bit south in Suffolk, where she worked for four years.
  • Eliza Leslie
    Eliza LeslieEliza Leslie lived from 16 November 1787 - 2 January 1858. She wrote both cookbooks and etiquette books.
  • Elizabeth Coleman White
    Biography iconElizabeth Coleman White was the first person to grow cultivated blueberries for commercial production. She teamed up with Dr Frederick V.
  • Elizabeth Craig
    Biography iconElizabeth Josephine Craig (16 February 1883 – 7 June 1980) wrote over 40 books. Most were cook books but some were household management books in the Enquire Within series.
  • Elizabeth David
    Biography iconElizabeth David was an English cookbook author. Her most known cookbook is her 1960 French Provincial Cookbook.
  • Elizabeth Raffald
    Elizabeth RaffaldElizabeth Raffald was the author of the 1769 book, The Experienced English Housekeeper. She provides 800 recipes written with such clear directions and quantities, that you can still cook from them today.
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  • Fannie Merritt Farmer
    Biography iconFannie Merritt Farmer wrote one of America's definitive cookbooks, and created standardized North American measurements. [1] A feisty red-head who never married at a time when women were encourage to do just that and stay home, she not only got out and made a career for herself, and a name in history, but did all this despite a handicap which came to her early in life.
  • Fannie Merritt Farmer School
    Fannie Merritt Farmer SchoolFannie Merritt Farmer (1857–1915) opened her famous Boston cooking school on this date, 23 August, in 1902. Fannie managed the Boston Cooking School from 1891 to 1902.
  • Fanny Cradock
    Fanny CradockFanny was one of the first, and most original, celebrity TV food personalities ever. Descriptions of her range from charmingly bizarre to camp to imperious battleaxe.
  • Francois Pierre de la Varenne
    Biography iconFrancois Pierre de la Varenne was a French chef who practised in the first half of the 1600s. Varenne established the foundation for what would became one of the basics of French cooking: to complement, and not to hide or imitate flavour.
  • Francois Vatel
    Biography iconFrancois Vatel is known as the great French chef [1] who killed himself on the morning of the 24th of April 1671 at Chantilly, France over a food delivery that went wrong. Francois was born Fritz Karl Watel in Switzerland, the son of Charles Frédéric Watel, an ordinary worker (the name Watel is still common in Zurich.) His birthdate is disputed: dates suggested are 1625, 1631 or 1635.
  • François Latry
    François LatryFrançois Latry was maître chef at the Savoy Hotel in London for 23 years, from 1919 to 1942. Today, he is remembered particularly for the Second World War rationing recipes he helped create for Lord Woolton at the Ministry of Food, particularly the one named Woolton Pie.
  • Fulvius Lippinus
    Biography iconQuintus Fulvius Lippinus (aka Fulvius Hirpinus) was a Roman who lived around the middle of the first century BC in the formerly Estruscan areas of Italy. He is remembered for his development of farming methods, particularly his method of farming and fattening edible water snails.
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  • Gary Rhodes
    Biography iconGary Rhodes is an English cookbook author, chef, and celebrity TV chef. Rhodes was born in South London on 22 April 1960, and grew up in Gillingham, Kent.
  • Georges-Auguste Escoffier
    Georges-Auguste EscoffierGeorges-Auguste Escoffier was a French chef and author who lived from 28 October 1846 to 12 February 1935. He never worked in private homes; his entire career was spent in commercial, public places.
  • Gino d'Acampo
    Biography iconGino d'Acampo is a British chef and TV food personality. He and his wife Jessica have two boys, named Luciano and Rocco.
  • Gordon Ramsay
    Biography iconGordon Ramsay is a British chef and cookbook author. He is as well-known for his temper as he is for his cooking.
  • Gourmet Magazine
    Gourmet MagazineGourmet Magazine (1940 to 2009) was an American food magazine. More than that, one could argue it was the most prestigious food magazine ever yet produced.
  • Graham Kerr
    Biography iconAlmost forgotten by the turn of the 2000s, Graham Kerr was the celebrity chef of the 1970s. He became famous for his one show, the Galloping Gourmet.
  • Grimod de la Reynière
    Grimod de la ReynièreGrimod de la Reynière was one of the world's first food reviewers and restaurant critics. Scathing and witty in his observations, he wrote the Manual for Hosts (Manuel des Amphitryons) and published the annual L'Almanach des gourmands in the early 1800s in Paris.
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  • Harold McGee
    Biography iconMany times we simply do as we're told when working in a kitchen, because the person or source telling us to do it has more experience. Harold McGee, though, was the saucy child who through wondering why found that scientific evidence didn't always back up these just do it orders.
  • Harriet Anne de Salis
    Harriet Anne de SalisVery little has been written about the personal, or professional, life of Harriet Anne de Salis (23 January 1829 - 18 April 1908), who often published under the name of Mrs de Salis. She was a very well-selling English cookbook and household management author at the end of the Victorian age -- the Gilded Age, as some call it.
  • Harumi Kurihara
    Biography iconHarumi Kurihara is a celebrity TV homemaker in Japan, and the author of around 40 cookbooks, with 15 million in sales (as of 2009.) She is not a chef, but a home cook, whose advice includes the presentation of food down to setting tables, and arranging flowers -- presentation of food still being an important aspect to Japanese cooking. Her fans are known as Haru-ra.
  • Henri Charpentier
    Henri CharpentierHenri Charpentier was a French chef who lived in America, and who every year, received (and looked forward to) a Christmas card from Britain's Royal Family. Henri was more a chef (in the true sense of leader) or restaurateur than a cook, usually having people work for him, with him looking after overall direction, and the customers.
  • Henry John Heinz
    Henry John HeinzHenry John Heinz founded a empire of commercially-prepared foods. Such products provided convenience to housewives, who previously had to make all their home products from scratch.
  • Hermitage Restaurant
    Hermitage RestaurantThe Hermitage Restaurant was a famous restaurant in Moscow, operating in Moscow for 53 years, from 1864 to 1917. It was located in a building, which is still extant, at the corner of Petrovsky Boulevard and Neglinnoj Street on Trubnaya Square (Trubnaya Ploshchad.) The building now (as of 2009) houses the Moscow School of Modern Drama Theatre.
  • Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
    Biography iconHugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is an English food personality and writer who seems to embody many of the food trends that were popular at the turn of the 21st century. In fact, for him, food at times seems more political than it does seem to be about food itself.
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  • Irma Rombauer
    Biography iconIrma Rombauer was the author of one of America's most influential cookbooks to date, The Joy of Cooking. The story of the book, though, is the story of both her and her daughter, Marion.
  • Isabella Mary Beeton
    Biography iconAnyone who has heard of Mrs Beeton probably thinks of her as a stately, stout, tough matron, the kind that went out into the world to beat back the bush in the name of God and Queen. In fact, she died young, at the age of 28, and was very avant-garde -- she even worked as a journalist, something practically unheard of in her times.
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  • James John Howard Gregory
    James John Howard GregoryJames John Howard Gregory lived from 7 November 1827 to 20 February 1910. He ran an important seed catalogue business [1] which helped introduce vegetables now considered heirloom stock such as the Hubbard Squash and the Burbank potato.
  • Jane Grigson
    Biography iconJane Grigson lived from 13 March 1928 - 12 March 1990, dying just one day shy of her 62nd birthday. She was a middle-class, well-travelled food writer writing for such an audience.
  • Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
    Jean-Anthelme Brillat-SavarinBrillat-Savarin, while not a chef, has been one of the most influential food writers of all time. He is known for his book Physiologie du Goût (translated variously into English as The Physiology of Taste, The Philosopher in the Kitchen, etc.) Brillat-Savarin's goal was to raise cooking to a level of true science.
  • Jean-Étienne de Boré
    Biography iconJean-Étienne de Boré lived from 27 December 1740 to 2 February 1820. [1] He was the man who first commercially produced granulated sugar.
  • Jean-Pierre Clause
    Biography iconJean-Pierre Clause is known now as the creator of Pâté de Contades. Cynics point out that really what Clause really achieved was to take a peasant dish, dress it up, and make all the rich people swoon over it.
  • Jean Paré
    Biography iconJean Paré (pronounced Gene Perry) is the world's top selling cookbook author, with 23 million copies of her books sold as of 2006, though Britain's Delia Smith comes a close second. And Jean got a late start -- her writing career didn't begin until she was 54.
  • Jennifer Paterson
    Biography iconJennifer Paterson gained overnight fame as one of the two principals on the TV series called Two Fat Ladies, and as co-author of the accompanying cookbooks. She also wrote columns for The Spectator and The Oldie, did TV appearances on Food and Drink on BBC 2, and was often on the BBC Radio 4 programme called Questions of Taste.
  • John Cadbury
    John CadburyThe Cadbury family dynasty was started in 1824 by John Cadbury, and strengthened by his sons George and Richard. A devout Quaker, John saw cocoa and chocolate as healthy alternatives to alcohol.
  • John Lawson Johnston
    John Lawson JohnstonJohn Lawson Johnston was the inventor of Bovril. He was born in Roslin, Scotland (of Da Vinci Code fame) on 28 September 1839.
  • John Tradescant
    John TradescantJohn Tradescant (aka Treadeskant) was an English horticulturist. His son, also named John Tradescant, was also a horticulturist.
  • Joseph A. Campbell: Founder of Campbell's Soup
    Joseph A. Campbell: Founder of Campbell's SoupJoseph A. Campbell (15 May 1817 - 27 March 1900) started the company that introduced condensed tomato soup in 1897.
  • Josephine Garis Cochrane
    Josephine Garis CochraneJosephine Garis Cochrane invented the first workable dishwasher. An attempt had been made before her, by a man, but it didn't work and never got off the ground.
  • Julia Child
    Julia ChildJulia Child was the person who more than anyone else brought French cooking to North American middle-class households as a TV personality and author. She is only familiar to North Americans, though; she remains mostly unknown in Britain and in Europe.
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  • Katherine Caldwell Bayley
    Katherine Caldwell BayleyKatherine Caldwell Bayley (10 September 1889 to 1976) was a Canadian Home Economist in the first half of the 1900s. Together, with her husband Walter Stillman Bayley (1886 to 1959), they ran a Home Economics consulting company called Ann Adam Homecrafters out of their Toronto home at 42 Roselawn Avenue.
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  • La Maison Dorée
    La Maison DoréeLa Maison Dorée, located at 20, Boulevard des Italiens, was one of the most famous restaurants in Paris in the 1800s. It opened in 1840 in a building that was five storeys tall.
  • Laurie Colwin
    Biography iconLaurie Colwin lived from 1944 - 1992. She wrote two cookbooks.
  • Louis Eustache Ude
    Louis Eustache UdeLouis Eustache Ude (born c. 1769) was a French chef and the author of two cookbooks, the man who Lady Chesterfield called whimsical, good-natured, exorbitantly vain.
  • Louis Fauchère
    Louis FauchèreLouis Fauchère was a chef at Delmonico's restaurant in New York in the mid-1800s. Fauchère was born in 4 March 1823 in Verbey, Switzerland.
  • Lucien Olivier
    Biography iconLucien Olivier (1838–1883) was a chef trained in classic, French haute cuisine. It is unclear whether he was French or Belgian born; there is very little material available on his life.
  • Luther Burbank
    Luther BurbankLuther Burbank was an American botanist and scientist, most remembered for the potato still named after him. He was a self-promoter, but his hype about some of his plant creations didn't live up to reality when they were grown elsewhere in the world outside of the idyllic California environment, where he worked.
  • Lydia Maria Francis Child
    Lydia Maria Francis ChildLydia Maria Francis Child lived from 11 February 1802 to 20 October 1880. She was the author of The Frugal Housewife, a book aimed at poorer housewives who didn't have servants (e.g.
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  • Madhur Jaffrey
    Madhur JaffreyMadhur Jaffrey is a TV food personality and cookbook writer who demystifies Indian cooking for English-speakers. On her programmes, she frequently dons the dress of the particular region of India featured in that episode.
  • Marcella Hazan
    Biography iconMarcella Hazan (15 April 1924 – 29 September 2013) was to Italian cooking in America as Julia Child was to French cooking. Marcella Hazan was born as Marcella Polini in 1924, in Cesenatico on the Adriatic coast of Emilia-Romagna, Italy.
  • Margaret Costa
    Biography iconMargaret Costa lived from 1917 to 1999. Though a relatively well-known British food personality, she wrote only one cookbook on her own (though she assisted with a few others.) She also wrote, though, for magazines such as the Sunday Pictorial, the Farmer and Stockbreeder, and Gourmet magazine (a regular column called London at Table.
  • Marguerite Patten
    Marguerite PattenMarguerite Patten has had a very long career in the United Kingdom, writing about and teaching about food. Though she turned 85 in 2000, she was still working on books and magazines, despite being struck by arthritis later in her years, which she brought under control by diet.
  • Maria Parloa
    Biography iconMaria Parloa lived from 25 September 1843 - 21 August 1909. Born in Massachusetts, she grew up as an orphan.
  • Marie-Antoine Carême
    Marie-Antoine CarêmeMarie-Antoine Carême was a French chef and food writer who lived from 8 June 1784 -- 12 January 1833. [1] Though named in honour of Marie Antoinette, he preferred to call himself Antonin -- no doubt for many reasons, particularly after the French Revolution.
  • Mars Family
    Mars FamilyThe Mars Family story and business empire starts with Franklin Clarence Mars ( 24 September 1883 - 1934.) The company was later taken over by his son, Forrest Edward Mars. Franklin was born in Newport, Minnesota.
  • Mary Ellis Ames
    Mary Ellis AmesMary Ellis Ames (born c. 1887; died 27 February 1968 [1]) was Pillsbury's answer to their competitor's fictional woman, Betty Crocker.
  • Mary Randolph
    Mary RandolphMary Randolph was the author of The Virginia Housewife, the first regional cookbook in America, published in 1824. It is still being reprinted in facsimile.
  • Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner
    Biography iconOne of the earliest promoters of raw-food diets was the Swiss doctor Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner [1] (born 22 August 1867 in Aarau, Switzerland; died 24 January 1939.) Max's father, Heinrich Bircher, had been a notary public in Aarau, Switzerland. His mother was Berta Krüsi.
  • Milton S. Hershey
    Milton S. HersheyMilton Snavely Hershey lived from 13 September 1857 to 13 October 1945. Famed now for both his candy products and his enlightened business practices, many of his ideas actually came from Cadbury's in England.
  • Mithaecus
    Biography iconMithaecus lived around 400 BC. He is probably the first cookery writer in history, or more fairly, that we know of, though we have only one recipe from him (quoted in Athenaeus.) Mithaecus was a Greek living in the Greek colony of Sicily long before Italians or even Romans had padded onto the scene.
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  • Nigel Slater
    Biography iconNigel Slater (1958 - ) is a food commentator. He lives in Highbury, near Islington in London, England.
  • Nigella Lawson
    Biography iconNigella Lawson is a celebrity TV cook and cookbook author. Not a professional cook by training, she emphasizes enjoyment rather than achievement in cooking.
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  • Paul Blangé
    Biography iconPaul Blangé (1900 to 1977) was the Executive Chef at Brennan's Restaurant at 417 Royal Street in New Orleans starting in 1946, working for Owen Edward Brennan Sr. He created Bananas Foster, Eggs Hussarde and Chicken Pontalba at Brennan's, and was a regular for years on the Midday programme on WDSU TV.
  • Peek Freans
    Peek FreansPeek Freans is a brand of cookies. In the UK, the brand name is owned by United Biscuits, though they aren't presently using it as of 2010.
  • Philip Harben
    Philip HarbenPhilip Harben had the first television cooking programme in the world. The programme started in 1946 on the BBC.
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