Louis Eustache Ude
Louis-Eustache Ude, (ca 1769 –b10 April 1846), chef and author, was the best-known French chef in London before Alexis Soyer's reign in the kitchens of the Reform Club (1837-50). Ude was the chef at Crockford's. the fashionable gentlemen's gambling and eating club in St James's Street, London.
Though his father, a chef at Louis XVI's Versailles, got his son an apprentice place in the kitchens there, cuisine was not yet the young man's interest. Having apprenticed himself to a jeweler, then to an engraver, and after several other jobs, Ude was finally chef d'hôtel for Madame Mère, the mother of Napoleon. Having served in that capacity for some time, with the return of peace he made his way to London, where he followed the rest of his career. For two decades he was chef d'hôtel to William Philip Molyneux, 2nd Earl of Sefton at Croxteth Hall, near Liverpool. Lord Sefton kept a great table, and paid Ude handsomely. at 300 guineas p.a.. When Lord Sefton died in 1738, he left Ude an annuity of 100 guineas p.a., though the chef had long since departed his service.
Ude had moved to the kitchens of George III's second son, Frederick Augustus, Duke of York. The Duke's death in 1827 left Ude free to take up the position of chef de cuisine at the club being established by William Crockford, and here Ude made his greatest reputation. His starting salary at Crockford's was £1200 p.a.. When he left in September 1838, over a salary disagreement (he was making a princely £4000 p.a.), and retired, his place was taken by Charles Elmé Francatelli, until Crockford's closed in 1845.
Ude was the author of two learned cook books, The French Cook, published in 1813 while he was still attached to Lord Sefton, and republished in numerous editions throughout his lifetime, and, reflecting a phrase of Michel de Montaigne, La Science de Gueule.
He is buried at Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
- Michael Garval "Romantic Gastronomies: Alexis Soyer and the Rise of the Celebrity Chef"
- In later life Ude embellished his phase to the point where Lord William Pitt Lennox could assert "He has been the premier artiste of His Catholic Majesty Louis XVI." (Celebrities I Have Known: With Episodes, Political, Social p 214).
- The Earl's son had had the temerity, some said, to salt at table a soup Ude had sent in (Cook's Info: Louis-Eustache Ude) or, according to others, the offender was a guest and the offense, pepper (Ebenezer Cobham Brewer, The Reader's Handbook of Allusions, References, Plots and Stories, s'v "Ude, the most learned of cooks").
- Benjamin Disraeli's letter to Sarah Disraeli of 4 February 1839, giving amusing details, is quoted at Cook's Info.
- "Ude was, beyond all competition, the most learned of cooks, as his work on 'La Science de Guele' will prove" (Lord William Pitt Lennox, Celebrities I Have Known: With Episodes, Political, Social ..., Volume 1: p213ff.).
- Cook's Info: Louis-Eustache Ude