Alexis Soyer

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Alexis Benoist Soyer (4 February 1810 – 5 August 1858) was a French chef who became the most celebrated cook in Victorian England. He also tried to alleviate suffering of the Irish poor in the Great Irish Famine , and improve the food provided to British soldiers in the Crimean War.


Alexis Benoist Soyer was born at Meaux-en-Brie in France. His father had several jobs, one of them as a grocer. In 1821 he was expelled from school and went to live with his elder brother Phillipe in Paris. He became an apprentice at G Rignon restaurant in Paris. Later, in 1826 he moved to restaurant Boulevard des Italiens, where he became a chief cook of the kitchens. By June 1830, Soyer was a second cook to Prince Polignac at the French Foreign Office.

During the revolution “Les Trois Glorieuses.” in 1830. Soyer fled to England and joined the London household of Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge, where his brother Philippe was head chef. Later, he worked for various other British notables, including the Duke of Sutherland, the Marquess of Waterford, William Lloyd of Aston Hall and the Marquess of Ailsaat St Margaret’s House, beside the Thames and Priory Gardens in Whitehall.

His wife, Elizabeth Emma Jones, achieved considerable popularity as a painter, chiefly of portraits. She was one of the youngest persons to exhibit at the Royal Academy, at the age of 10 she submitted the Watercress Woman in 1823. Her portrait of Soyer was engraved by Henry Bryan Hall.<ref...
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