Eugénie Brazier: Five things you didn't know about the ground-breaking French Chef

From Peter Stubley, published at Tue Jun 12 2018

Eugénie Brazier, the first woman to be awarded three Michelin stars, is widely regarded the "mother of modern French cooking".

Born on 12 June 1895, Brazier opened her first restaurant in a former grocery store in Lyon at the age of 26 and soon built a reputation for simple, elegant food.

Her cooking at La Mere Brazier would attract celebrities like Marlene Dietrich and Charles de Gaulle but Brazier never wanted to be a "celebrity chef" unlike her male peers such as the "King of Cooks" Alexandre Dumaine.

Brazier's most famous dishes include "beautiful dawn lobster", featuring brandy and cream, and "poultry in half mourning', in which truffle slices are inserted between the meat and the skin before the bird is poached.

Here are five things you should know about Eugénie Brazier.

1. She turned down a French legion of honour

Brazier modestly claimed that the medal "should be given out for doing more important things than cooking well and doing the job as you're supposed to."

2. Her favourite ever meal was cooked by her mother

Orphaned at the age of ten, Brazier said she had "never eaten better" than a broth of leeks and vegetables cooked in milk and water, enriched with eggs, and poured over stale bread.

3. She was the first person to hold six Michelin stars simultaneously

Brazier earned three stars at each of her two restaurants, one in Lyon and the other in a hunting camp in the Alpine foothills at Col de la Luere.

4. Paul Bocuse, one of the best known French chefs, was her student

Legend has it that Bocuse was first put to work ironing napkins.

He later described Brazier as a "tough and modest woman who knew instinctively how to select the best of us".

5. Her first and only recipe book was published posthumously

Brazier began work on the cookbook two years before she died in 1977 but never finished it and it was only printed with the help of her family in 2009.