About the book:
An encyclopedia of gastronomy. The majority of the book is about French cuisine, and contains recipes for French dishes and cooking techniques.
The first edition (1938) was edited by Prosper Montagné, with prefaces by Georges Auguste Escoffier and Philéas Gilbert. Gilbert was a collaborator in the creation of this book as well as Le Guide Culinaire with Escoffier, leading to some cross-over with the two books. It caused Escoffier to note when he was asked to write the preface that he could “see with my own eyes,” and “Montagné cannot hide from me the fact that he has used Le Guide as a basis for his new book, and certainly used numerous recipes.”
About the author:
Prosper Montagné (14 November 1865 – 22 April 1948) was a French chef and author of many books and articles on food, cooking, and gastronomy, notably the Larousse Gastronomique.
Montagné was born in Carcassonne, Aude. Upon leaving the Lycée de Carcassonne, he wished to become an architect, but this proved impossible. His father acquired l’Hotel des Quatre-Saisons in Toulouse, with his son as a chef – the beginning of an illustrious career.
He apprenticed at the Grand Hôtel of Paris and the Hotel d’Angleterre of Cauterets, then worked at various restaurants in Paris and San Remo, and the Hôtel de Paris of Monte Carlo. In 1900, he returned to Paris and was chef of the Pavillon d’Armenonville, the Pavillon Ledoyen, and finally the Grand Hotel where he stayed for 10 years. Later, he had his own restaurant, the Montagné, and was a consultant to La Reine Pédauque.
He also contributed to many newspapers and magazines, and was editor in chief of the Revue culinaire.
The Encyclopædia Britannica writes of him:
After Carême, the two men who probably had the greatest impact on French gastronomy and that of the world at large were Prosper Montagné and Georges-Auguste Escoffier. Montagné was one of the great French chefs of all time, and he achieved a secure place in gastronomic history by creating Larousse Gastronomique (1938), the basic encyclopaedia of French gastronomy. As a young man…, he came to the conclusion that all pièces montées, as well as superfluous garnitures and decorations, should be discarded.
He lends his name to the Club Prosper Montagné, a trade association of French food professionals.
Montagné was a Knight of the Légion d’Honneur.