The kitchens at Valençay are famous because the château's 19th century owner, Talleyrand (Napoleon Bonaparte's foreign minister) had in his employ one of the great figures in the history of French gastronomy and cooking. His name was Marie-Antoine (a.k.a. Antonin) Carême (1784-1833). It has been said that Carême refined and developed techniques and ideas brought to France by Catherine de Médicis, the Italian queen of France who lived for a while at the Château de Chenonceau, where you can also visit the kitchens. The kitchens at Valençay are in the basement of the west wing of the château.
There's an interesting article here in the regional Nouvelle République newspaper about Antonin Carême's life and influence. While the Wikipédia article about the Château de Valençay says sort of snootily that that rien ne prouve qu'il [Carême] a séjourné au Château de Valençay, he worked as a cook for Talleyrand for 12 years. Somewhere else I read that he was the first cook to be called chef in France. He was known as le roi des chefs et le chef des rois. Maybe he just stayed in Paris and had staff that took care of the cooking at Valençay following his instructions. It has been written that cooking on wood fires and inhaling a lot of toxic smoke for many years might be reasons why he died prematurely at age 48.
The kitchen staff look a bit creepy!ReplyDelete
That setup is what I would call hokey. I wonder if the dummies are still there these days.Delete
A bit like a scary movie where they come to life at night....or something. Department store mannequins.Delete
I know everyone will be raving over the copper pots but I want those two long wooden tables! I noticed what I think is a potato ricer on a shelf. I’ve seen mannequins here and at other historical places and I think they look silly. Too bad Careme died so young.ReplyDelete
Some serious cooking must have happened in this kitchen. The mannequins look like they are dressed for the 1900s.ReplyDelete
Yes, they do.Delete
Ohhh, I love the kitchen views! I loved visiting the kitchen at Chenonceau, too-- those copper pots!ReplyDelete
I think I've seen that they have the hokey mannequins in other rooms of Valençay, too. I guess maybe they are trying to appeal to kids?
I don't remember seeing other mannequins there, but it's possible. You're probably right about appealing to kids.Delete
It's the best room in the house! The kitchens are always my favorite part of any tour of a grand home.ReplyDelete
Have you ever been to see the kitchens at Chenonceau? Maybe we went during one of your visits. Another interesting kitchen is the one at the Château de Montpoupon.Delete