Escoffier and Cesar Ritz managed to make luxury hotels into respectable venues for the British and European royal families. Being greatly appreciated by the Prince of Wales, Escoffier was put in charge of the banquet for the coronation when the prince became King Edward VII.
As legend has it, Kaiser Wilhelm II once told him, “I am the Emperor of Germany, but you are the Emperor of Chefs.”
Escoffier was in essence the first international celebrity chef of the 20th century, enjoying broad recognition among his ‘gourmet’ followers, including politicians, wealthy industrialists and artists. He would sometimes dedicate creations to his most loyal guests, like the Peach Melba for the opera singer of the same name, originally encased in spun gold leaf and served on the back of a swan made of ice.
At the Savoy, European Royal families quickly became regular dining guests. Being greatly appreciated by the Prince of Wales, when the prince became King Edward VII in 1901, Escoffier was put in charge of the banquet for the coronation. Winston Churchill frequently took his cabinet to lunch at the Savoy Hotel, and he was sitting in the Carlton’s dining hall on August 4, 1914, when Britain declared war against Germany and her allies.
For the first time, Escoffier and Cesar Ritz made it respectable and fashionable for aristocratic women to be seen as dining in public. Lady de Grey, considered to be a key trendsetter in 19th century London society, was one of the first women to have a lunch party at the Savoy. Suddently the Savoy became incredibly popular for ladies, for couples, people on their own.
In 1913, Escoffier met Emperor Wilhelm II at a state dinner for 146 German dignitaries on board the SS Imperator. As legend has it, Kaiser Wilhelm II told him, “I am the Emperor of Germany, but you are the Emperor of Chefs.”