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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Taillevent, the First Cook to be Appointed Chef to a King of France.

Behind the French Menu.
Bryan G. Newman

Guillaume Tirel, known as Taillevent.

Taillevent began serving royalty as a kitchen boy to the queen of France.  Twenty-five years later he would serve the French King Charles V and later his son King Charles VI as  a chef to  the royal household.   
From Taillevent, and on, all French King's, and now French President's, have famous, well-trained French chefs. Taillevent  was born in 1315 and died in 139 age eighty. . Eighty was not a bad age to get to in the 14th century;
Taillevent wrote the first published French cookbook,  “Le Viander”.  The book was published about 100 years after his death, and it came in various versions. That time lag, along with the fact that various versions were published has led to unending disputes over Taillevent’s original contributions.  Nevertheless, a single chef was the heart and soul behind The Viander and the   book is accepted as the first published French cookbook.
How to roast a swan or a peacock.

If you want to roast a swan or a peacock buy an English translation of Taillevent’s 14th century recipes.  The last English reprint that I saw on sale at Amazon was printed in 2002.
Free Download of Taillevent's book The Viander in French.
The book may be downloaded, free of charge in the original old French.  The source is an edition in the Bibliothèque National de France, the French National Library.  The published is on the web courtesy of Project Gutenberg.  Go to:

Free Download of Taillevent's book The Viander in English.

James Prescott  published, in 1988, an English translation of ‘Le Viander” based on an version that is the Vatican Library.  It is available free of charge online.  See:

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