Nignon.   Edouard     - Extremely rare Nignon menus.
Claridges Hotel London.
Two of Edouard Nignon's menus dated 1900.
Menu 1. 163 x 100mm. Cream coloured card with a bright embossed American flag. A ten course dinner menu dated 4 Juillet 1900. Obviously celebrating American independence day. A clean item still in very good condition, with the word 'Menu'. embossed in gilt. Menu 2. 147 x 82mm. Similar cream coloured card with two crossed flags, one being the Queen's Royal Standard and the other is the Union Jack. The menu is titled the 'Atlantic Union'. The flags and the word 'Menu' are brightly coloured and embossed. The menu has twelve courses and dated 19th May 1900. Clean bright menus in good condition housed in a cardboard folder covered with marbled paper and a label on the front cover. Very rare.
- Claridges Hotel, Brook St, London, has always been the most important hotel in the UK for diplomatic dinners and social functions. Even today there are approx. one dozen state banquets hosted during the season by the Queen personally, for various Embassies and visiting Heads of State. As both menus here are decoratively very handsome but understated, they appear to be above the norm. The first one for American Independence day could have been hosted by or for Joseph Choate the American Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Court of St. James's, presented 1899 and recalled 1905. The Chef de Cuisine at that time, Edouard Nignon, had a classic apprenticeship in some of the greatest French kitchens of the time. He diligently trained in all the main departments; Saucier, Rotisseur, Entremetier, Poissonnier, Garde manger, Patissier and Tournant. He was Chef de Cuisine to the Tsar and the Emperor of Austria, eventually becoming the owner of the famous Restaurant Larue on rue Royale in Paris. In between those two famous positions he was at Claridges Hotel from 1894 - 1901. He was known to be a fantastic craftsman and the food at Claridges was thought by many to be the best in London. This was despite having Escoffier ensconced at the same time in the Carlton Hotel, Pall Mall. As displayed below these 2 Claridges menus of Nignon's, came from a private collection of approximately 127 menus belonging to the great grandson of Camille Albert who was the Head Banqueting Waiter at the Carlton Hotel from 1898 - 1905. About 85 of the menus in the collection are from Escoffier's time at the Carlton, while the others are from other famous London venues. Escoffier's menus are relatively rare while on the other hand, Nignon's are extremely rare. This is possibly due to the fact that while Escoffier was Chef de Cuisine at the Savoy and Carlton Hotels in London for almost 30 years, Nignon had a tenure in London of under 7 years. I have been searching for Nignon's menus for 30 years and these two are the first I have found.

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Ephemera category
ref number: 11210