An uneducated, single mother and the first person ever to receive six Michelin stars, Eugenie Brazier was long forgotten by the world. But who is this fascinating woman and what is her contribution to the culinary arts in France?
Known as the “mother of French cuisine”, Eugenie Brazier failed to complete primary education and was forced to leave home at 19 after becoming pregnant. However, at 40, she runs two restaurants and is the most decorated chef in the world. In 1933, she would become the first person to receive six Michelin stars, a record that remained unchallenged until 1998.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the path to becoming a top chef in France followed strict rules. Boys between the ages of 10 and 13 must apprentice in the kitchens, working their way up the hierarchy. Training followed, mostly in Paris, sometimes in Nice and on the Normandy coast, working in resorts.
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Growing up in the early 1900s, her family lived on a farm in La Tranclière, 56 km away. northeast of Lyon. Under her mother’s tutelage, Brazier began cooking at a very, very young age. By the age of five, she can already make two types of tarts, although she is not allowed to turn on the oven.
Eugenie’s mother died when she was only 10 years old. The little girl started working on a neighboring farm to provide for her family. But in 1914, 19-year-old Brazier became pregnant and her father kicked her out of the house.
To make ends meet, Brazier gets a job as a housekeeper for a wealthy Lyon family, placing his son Gaston in a boarding school. The future top chef also takes on the role of chef, traveling with the family, so without cookbooks, with the advice of merchants, the staff of the hotels where she stays with her benefactors, she develops her cooking skills.
Eugénie Brazier was raised on a farm before entering domestic service until she pursued her dream as a chef. Known as “la Mère Brazier”, in 1933, she became the first person awarded six Michelin stars, three each at two restaurants. pic.twitter.com/oNNY6ajbNq
— The French History Podcast-