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Jean-Pierre Clause

Jean-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. But still, he does seem to count as the one who thought of doing that.

Jean-Pierre Clause was born 24 October 1757 in the town of Dieuze, in the area known at the time as Lorraine, now in the Moselle département of north-eastern France. He was the son of Sébastien Clause and Françoise Tancer.

His first job appears to have been in Évreux, a in the area then known as Normandy, now in the Eure département of northern France. He was a scullion in a kitchen at an in Évreux. He came to Paris with his uncle Dumoulin to work for a while.

Sometime before September 1778, Jean-Pierre moved to Strasbourg to work with his oldest brother, who was a pastry cook there for Louis Georges Érasme de Contades, the Marquis of Contades [1]. On 25 September 1778 Clause's eldest brother died, and Clause, aged 21 at the time, took over his brother's position. Sometime between 1779 and 1783, Clause made a pâté de foie gras for the Marquis -- a pâté now called Pâté de Contades. The Marquis loved it and had him make one to send to the King [2] at Versailles, along with the recipe (some versions say just the recipe was sent.) Reputedly, the king was so delighted with the dish that he gave land in Picardy to the Marquis, and a money gift of 20 pistoles to Clause.

At the start of 1784, Jean-Pierre left work for the Marquis, and married an Marie-Anne Maring on 10 February 1784. She was the widow of a pastry cook named Jean-François Mathieu, who had owned a shop at 3, Marché-aux-Chevaux street in Strasbourg (owing to street renaming and numbering, the address is now 15, Bijouterie Holl. Jean-Pierre, as part owner of the shop with his wife, worked there with her. He joined the "Tribu des pâtissiers" (pastry-cook's guild) on 28 February of that year. Jean-Pierre began making and selling his Pâté de Contades ("pâté de foie gras de Strasbourg", as it became known) from the shop, which became famous for this pâté.

In 1790, a man named Nicolas Francois Doyen, who had been a cook for the president of the Bordeaux parliament, had come to Strasbourg to work for Clause. He suggested a version of the pâté that would have truffles in it (which some French people still disagree with.) This version became known as "pâté de foie gras de Strasbourg aux truffes du Périgord." Doyen left two years later to set up his own shop.

In 1827, Jean-Pierre died at the age of seventy of the 21st of November, in Strasbourg. His business was taken over at first by a man named Fritsch, then in 1846 by Clause's nephew Jehl, who moved it to 3, rue du Dôme.


[1] In 1762, the Marquis de Contades (1704 - 1795) had been appointed the Governor of Alsace. In 1765, the marquis moved into a mansion on the rue de l'Ile Jars, upon the death of the former inhabitant, Marie Ursule de Klinglin, Countess of Lutzelbourg (1685 - 1765; friend of Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV, and Voltaire.) Jean-Jacques Rousseau (French writer and philosopher, 28 June 1712 – 2 July 1778) visited the marquis at the end of 1765, and of the tremendous hospitality he received his only complaint was that he would have stayed longer if "les fréquents dîners de M. de Contades ne l'avaient trop fatigué" ("if the frequent dinners given by Monsieur Contades hadn't worn him out.") In 1788, the Marquis of Contades moved to Lorraine to become Governor there.

[2] Louis XVI, 23 August 1754 – 21 January 1793.

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Oulton, Randal. "Jean-Pierre Clause." CooksInfo.com. Published 07 August 2006; revised 09 May 2007. Web. Accessed 03/19/2018. <http://www.cooksinfo.com/jean-pierre-clause>.

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