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As an apprentice, August was bullied and swatted by his uncle and his small stature made him even more of a target—he was too short to safely open oven doors. Eventually he wore boots with built up heels.
However, only months after arriving in Paris, Escoffier was called to active military duty, where he was given the position of army chef. Escoffier spent nearly seven years in the army—at first stationed in various barracks throughout France including five months in Villefranche-sur-Mer, coincidentally not three miles from his old home in Nice , and later at Metz as chef de cuisine of the Rhine Army after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in His army experiences led him to study the technique of canning food.
On 28 August , he married Delphine Daffis. She has been described as "a French poetess of some distinction and a member of the Academy". Escoffier apparently won her hand in a gamble with her father, publisher Paul Daffis, over a game of billiards.
She died on 6 February The Savoy under Ritz and his partners was an immediate success, attracting a distinguished and moneyed clientele, headed by the Prince of Wales. Aristocratic women, hitherto unaccustomed to dining in public, were now "seen in full regalia in the Savoy dining and supper rooms". They discretely hired an auditing company who in turn hired a private investigation company who began secretively tailing Ritz, Echenard and Escoffier.
After a six month investigation they made a report to the board which detailed substantial evidence of fraud. They were to leave immediately that day.
Most of the kitchen and hotel staff were loyal to Ritz and Escoffier and as news spread disturbances in the Savoy kitchens reached the newspapers, with headlines such as "A Kitchen Revolt at The Savoy".
Ritz and his colleagues even prepared to sue for wrongful dismissal. How can one appreciate the food, the cooking or the wines? The Kaiser was so impressed that he insisted on meeting Escoffier after breakfast the next day, where, as legend has it, he told Escoffier, "I am the Emperor of Germany, but you are the Emperor of Chefs. He continued to run the kitchens through the First World War , during which time his younger son was killed in active service.
Death[ edit ] Escoffier died on 12 February , at the age of 88, less than a week after his wife Delphine. He is buried in the family vault at Villeneuve-Loubet.