François Tanty reportedly trained under the famous innovative chef and writer Marie Antoine Carême (1784 - 1833) which, if true, would date Tanty in his late seventies or eighties when he wrote his cookbook, La Cuisine Française (1893). He was chef to Napoleon III, the self-declared Emperor who reigned from 1851 to 1870 and presided over "a vulgar orgy of conspicuous consumption unmatched since Louis XIV's court at Versailles." Following that, Tanty served as chef of the Russian imperial family where, according to publishers' notes, "he was decorated by the late Czar with the Imperial Order of the Red Cross in consideration of his services as purveyor to the Army and Hospital Corps in the Russian-Turkish war." A proprietorship of the Grand Hotel and the Dussaux restaurant in St. Petersburg followed his service to Russia, and he then made his way to America, around 1890.
Tanty came to America to establish his sons in business. One of his sons, Louis Tanty, collaborated on the book, translating it from French and providing an effective systematic arrangement of the recipes and instructions. The recapitulation at the end of each chapter, in particular, was designed to make it as easy as possible for an American reader to learn the basic French dishes and cooking terms. For a chef who spent years serving the powerful of Europe, Tanty created a surprisingly family-oriented cooking book, simple and straightforward, with barely a hint of the extravagance he was once called upon to provide for his employers.
- Barbour, Philippe, Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls, France. London: Cadogan Guides, 2001.
- Tanty, François, La Cuisine Française. French Cooking for Every Home. Adapted to American Requirements. Chicago: Baldwin, Ross & Co., 1893.
- Website: http://www.foodreference.com/html/wmarieantoinecareme.html%20 [BROKEN LINK] (consulted July 15, 2003.)
Written by Anne-Marie Rachman