Who is Eugénie Brazier? Google Doodle celebrates French culinary icon

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 12 June, 2018, 12:12

Often regarded as the first-ever celebrity chef, Eugénie Brazier would have been celebrating her 123rd birthday today.

She's been hailed as the mother of French cuisine, but plenty of Brits will be unaware of the chef's influence on the culinary world.

Her impact was felt worldwide, and is honoured today on Google's homepage.

Here's the story of her rise from humble beginnings to a cooking icon with three Michelin stars.

Early days

Born in 1895, Brazier was an orphan by the age of 10 and rarely attended school.

Instead, she spent her younger days working in the fields in order to help earn a living.

But by the age of 19, she had moved to Lyon in search of a better life.

She began working as a domestic, before taking her first job in cooking alongside La Mere Fillioux - a high-profile chef who was famous for only employing women.

Growing reputation

Inspired by her time working alongside the celebrated chef, Brazier opened her first restaurant at the age of 26.

Despite its relatively simplistic menu, 'La Mere Brazier' was a big hit and earned her recognition from all quarters of France.

Celebrities and politicians all dined at the restaurant which saw the young chef's reputation grow.

Indeed, such was the success of her first restaurant that its name became Brazier's nickname for most of her career.

Honoured - but humble

With her cuisine earning such rave reviews, it was no surprise when the awards followed.

After opening 'Le Col de la Luere' in 1935, Michelin handed Brazier's restaurant the coveted three-star rating, praising the simplicity of its menu.

In the process, the chef became a record-breaker as the first female to be recognised with three stars simultaneously.

Yet despite the honours she remained humble.

Brazier didn't want to be referred to as a celebrity and nor did she want to receive any national honours, believing they should not be bestowed upon chefs.

Legacy

Brazier sadly passed away in 1977, but left a lasting legacy in France and further afield.

She began writing a cookbook shortly before her death which was eventually finished in 2009 by her family.

Released under the name 'Les secrets de la Mere Brazier', the book was a resounding success.

There are also a series of awards named after her, which honour culinary writing and illustration.

Her famous restaurants are still open, under the leadership of her granddaughter as her legacy of fresh, simple food continues.