Gaby Deslys, 1881-1920: Material Girl

Norman Douglas on the subject of Menton writes in passing that the Riviera seems to have produced no persons of note other  than Andrea Doria and Gaby Deslys.

Clearly a joke that left them in the aisles in 1922, but hers was not a name I was familiar with. My wife, given the name without context, thought she might have been be one of Yves St Laurent’s muses.   Good guess, but wrong.

She was a dancer and and chanteuse and one of the most notorious stage presences of her day.  The Madonna of the aughts and teens,  making up for modest innate talent with colossal work ethic and a flair for publicity.  A multi-millionaire at the time of her death, she hung her numerous hats on the Corniche (229 Avenue Kennedy, Marsailles) in the sort of place that might entice even Gerard Depardieu back to France. Continue reading

François Vatel, 1631-1671: Something Fishy

America comes late to the Age of the Celebrity Chef (no Escoffiers for us) , and of course we have to commercialize the hell out of it (are we honestly to believe that Celebrity Chef Brand pots and pans are qualitatively better than others?) because at the end of the day,  we do tend to measure accomplishment in hard revenue.

Well, television celeb chefs do, at any rate. And however dedicated and passionate as they may be,  I can’t think of any of them  who takes the job as seriously as Vatel did.

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