Bryan G. Newman
Photograph courtesy of bufflinghead.
François Vatel’s public fame began as chef to Nicolas Fouquet. Fouquet was then the Minister of Finance to King Louis the XIV and had built, for himself, an incredibly beautiful chateau with fantastic gardens. Nicolas Fouquet’s château was, and is, called Le Vaux-le-Vicomte; here Vatel created the whipped cream that would later be known as Crème Chantilly for a banquet held by his employer.
Photograph courtesy of @lain G.
An orchard in the Potager du Roi with the Château de Versailles in the background.
Photograph courtesy of Miladus Edenensis.
Photograph courtesy of Sylvain Latouche.
The next banquet was to be on Friday, a day when no meat could be served. On the morning of Friday 24 April 1671 the fish delivered was too small a quantity even for one quarter of the guests. Vatel, an obsessive compulsive, was full of remorse and shame; when he looked at the disaster awaiting the guests at that night’s banquet he fell upon his own sword and died.
The rest of the fish he had ordered arrived two hours later!
In the year 2,000 the director Roland Joffe made a film on Vatel starring Gerard Depardieu as Vatel. The film opened the Cannes film festival in the year 2000.