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Ashford, Mary Ann (1787–1870), domestic servant and autobiographer, was born on 30 October 1787 in London, where she was baptized at St Mary Woolnoth on 2 December 1787, the second child of Joseph Ashford (d. 1800), tanner, and his wife, Jane, née...

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Bellamy, John (fl. 1773), caterer, is a figure about whom little is known other than through his association with the houses of parliament, where he held the office of deputy housekeeper and, later, housekeeper. He was also a wine merchant in his own right. ...

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Aldo Berni (1909–1997) by unknown photographer Bristol Evening Post

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Berni, Aldo (1909–1997), restaurateur, was born on 14 March 1909 in Bardi in northern Italy, the youngest of three sons of Louis Berni, the owner of the Louis Café in Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire, which served meals consisting of soup, a joint, and two vegetables. ...

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See Berni, Aldo

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Bertorelli, Joe [Giuseppe Domenico] (1893–1994), restaurateur, was born on 10 June 1893 at Bergazzi di Bardi, Piacenza, Liguria, Italy, the youngest of the four sons of Lazzaro and Marianna Bertorelli. By the time of his birth his father and three elder brothers were already living and working in ...

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(Xavier) Marcel Boulestin (1878–1943) by Marcel Gromaire, 1925 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2016

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Boulestin, (Xavier) Marcel (1878–1943), restaurateur and writer on cookery, was born at Poitiers, France, where his mother, the daughter of a former lycée teacher, shared the house of his widowed maternal grandmother. Boulestin grew up and attended school in Poitiers, developing strong interests in music and the theatre. He visited his father, who maintained a largely separate existence, only for a month each summer, at the property that he owned at ...

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Boxall, Nellie (1890–1965), cook and servant, was born on 2 November 1890 at 353 Somers Road, Farncombe, a small town in rural Surrey. She was the youngest of the ten children (six daughters and four sons) of Henry Boxall (1846–1891), an agricultural labourer and later a railway worker, originally from ...

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Bradshaw, Penelope (d. 1753/4), compiler of cookery books, is known only through her writings. According to the title-page of one of her books, Bradshaw's Valuable Family Companion (12th edn, 1752), she had worked for several noble families for many years; another title-page, in ...

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Bukht, (Mirza) Michael John [pseud. Michael Barry] (1941–2011), broadcasting executive, television presenter, and cookery writer, was born on 10 September 1941 at Ynysarwed Farm, Resolven, Glamorgan, the elder son of Mirza Jawan Bukht (1908–1973), an Indian (later a Pakistani) diplomat, and his wife, ...

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Robert Carrier (1923–2006) by Barry Marsden, 1998 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Carrier, Robert (1923–2006), writer on cookery and restaurateur, was born Robert Carrier McMahon on 10 November 1923, at Tarrytown, New York state, USA, the third son of a wealthy property lawyer of Irish descent. His mother was of German descent, and also from a wealthy background. (His middle name, later his assumed surname, was that of one of his grandmothers, chosen because it looked good in print and was easy to pronounce in French.) When his parents lost their money following the ...

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Cassandro, Mario (1920–2011), restaurateur, was born in Naples, Italy, on 14 April 1920, the third son and third of four children of Serafino Cassandro (1882–1929), a hairdresser, and his wife, Maria (1889–1970). He left school early to help his mother support the family. He once showed a journalist friend the stall in the ...

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Cat, Christopher (fl. 1688), pastry cook, became famous for his mutton pies, which were named Kit-cats after him, but little else is known about his life. He is said to have kept a pie shop near Temple Bar; this may have been, or been near, the ...

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Costa [née Murphy], Margaret Mary (1917–1999), restaurateur and writer on cookery, was born on 30 August 1917 in Umtali, Southern Rhodesia, where her father, Michael John Murphy, was a senior official in the customs and excise department of the Southern Rhodesian government. His job entailed frequent moves while she was growing up, including a time in ...

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Cradock, Phyllis Nan Sortain [Fanny] (1909–1994), television chef, was born on 26 February 1909 at Apthorp, Fairlop Road, Leytonstone, Essex, the daughter of Archibald Thomas Pechey, corn merchant, and his wife, Bijou Sortain, née Hancock. By the time of her first marriage she was referring to her father as an 'author', although there is no evidence to support the claim; she also embellished her surname, giving it as '...

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Phyllis Nan Sortain Cradock (1909–1994) by unknown photographer [with her husband, John Cradock] © reserved; The Independent; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846–1935) by unknown photographer © reserved

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Escoffier, Georges Auguste (1846–1935), master chef and writer on cookery, was born on 28 October 1846 in Villeneuve-sur-Loup (later Villeneuve-Loubet), Alpes-Maritimes, 15 kilometres from Nice, the son of Jean Baptiste Escoffier (d. 1909), farmer and village blacksmith. At thirteen Auguste was apprenticed to his uncle ...