Monday, July 13, 2009

A MONDAY MARINADE ~ Escoffier

I'm trying out a new series featuring famous chefs, past and present, and their astrology. It'll be interesting to investigate the astrological components in the chefs' make up - and to discover, eventually, whether there are any common factors.

Before I started I asked myself what I'd expect to find prominent in the charts of those whose life's work is to prepare and present food. My first thought was of the element Earth, and the zodiac sign Taurus in particular. My second thought was that preparing food is a nurturing activity - nurturing others - the zodiac sign of Cancer relates to this. Beyond those factors, any successful individual, in whatever sphere they choose to operate, will need drive and energy. Any occupation involving the mass preparation and serving of food is demanding, make no mistake about that! Presentation of food is very important, so an artistic eye would be helpful. When you get right down to it, preparation of food is artistry in itself. Individual chart factors will be determined by any sidelines a chef might engage in: writing, for instance, would entail some strong Mercurial input.

So - to kick off this series I'm choosing a chef who is world-famous, king of all the chefs: Georges-Auguste Escoffier.

Born 28 October 1846 at 10am in Villeneuve-Loubet, France (Astrodatabank). My software doesn't have that city as an option, but Nice is at almost exactly the same latitude/longitude, so I've used it.




Well - was I wrong, or was I wrong? No Taurus, no Cancer planets. We do have an artistic streak via Venus/Mars in Libra (ruled by Venus, planet of the arts), and this at 10th house, the area of career. What we have here is a very Airy chart, in spite of the fact that natal Sun and Mercury lie in Watery, intense and passionate Scorpio.

There's a nice Grand Trine in Air linking the Libra planets to Jupiter in Gemini and the three planets in Aquarius. This reflects a high degree of natural intelligence, an intellectual nature.

Sagittarius was rising as Escoffier came into the world, and right opposite, on the descendant is Jupiter (Sagittarius' ruler) in Gemini. Sagittarius and Jupiter relate to excess, exaggeration, publication, and travel and are generally a benign influence. There's a link to the enjoyment of good food here, and a definite link to writing about food, which Escoffier did in several well-known volumes.




What about Aquarius though - how does that relate to the work of a chef? This particular chef was known for inventing new dishes (Peach Melba, we all know) and re-organising the way restaurant kitchens were run. There is the Aquarius influence! His philanthropic endeavours as mentioned in the quote below reflect another side of Aquarius, and of course, his benign Sagittarius ascendant.
Three of Escoffier's most noted career achievements are revolutionizing and modernizing the menu, the art of cooking and the organization of the professional kitchen. Escoffier simplified the menu as it had been, writing the dishes down in the order in which they would be served (Service à la Russe). He also developed the first à la Carte menu.

He simplified the art of cooking by getting rid of ostentatious food displays and elaborate garnishes and by reducing the number of courses served. He also emphasized the use of seasonal foods and lighter sauces. Escoffier also simplified professional kitchen organization, as he integrated it into a single unit from its previously individualized sections that operated autonomously and often created great wasted and duplication of labor.

Throughout his career, Escoffier wrote a number of books, many of which continue to be considered important today. Some of his best-known works include Le Guide Culinaire (1903), Le Livre des Menus (1912) and Ma Cuisine (1934).

As well as making changes in the culinary world, Escoffier undertook several philanthropic endeavors including the organization of programs to feed the hungry and programs to financially assist retired chefs.
(See here)

The dynamic tension, the engine room of Escoffier's nature, comes mainly from the oppositions Aries to Libra, Uranus opposes Mars, Pluto opposes Venus. Both Uranus and Pluto represent the urge for change and transformation - which is exactly what Escoffier achieved in his kitchens.



Something I've learned from this experiment already: Earth isn't a necessary ingredient in the natal chart of a chef - there are no planets in Earth signs in Escoffier's.



Second helping of Monday Marinade coming up next week.


16 comments:

Rossa said...

I shall be watching out for your Monday Marinades with relish, piccalilli anyone! (pun intended)....lol

My first career was as a Pastry Chef and I worked in London with Anton Mosimann and the Roux Brothers, Albert and Michel. Now 30 years later I have come round full circle and have just been asked to manage the start up of a Ministry of Food project in Bradford based on a campaign by one of our modern TV chefs Jamie Oliver.

I do have planets in Earth signs, but most (4) in Aquarius and a Sag moon. Not that I was a famous or even a great chef, just a reasonably good one. Still cooking every day...chicken caesar salad tonight and guess what for pud....peach melbas!!

Be interesting to see who you come up with next week.

Shawn Carson said...

very interesting article twilight1
I also have 3 planets in aquarius and was born into a family that opened a restaurant soon after i was born. my leo father had relish for people, as the headline on his obit proclaims.
altogether i endured 19 yrs of food service, which can be likened to "dog years". now that i am in publishing, i publish menus for restaurants.
escoffier was certainly an artist, as you wrote, and I'll bet he had the temperament to go with it. With mercury square moon / saturn, i wouldn't want to receive a "dressing" down from him!

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Ah yes! I remember now that you have connection to the catering industry. Oh my! that's quite a big job you are involved in. Interesting! Is it to do with school meals? I seem to recall that Jamie O. was involved in some sort of drive to improve them.

Aquarius in the picture again. Interesting. Unexpected. :-)

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ Oh - more Aquarius linked to catering!

My father (Sun Aquarian, like me) was a master baker but became a patissiere (sp?) for a while in a hotel later in life. I did a stint in hotel offices with a few extra duties thrown in - loved the business in those days - I found it had an almost almost magnetic draw for me. But it wore off!

Hmmm - this is getting interesting.

Aquarius and catering - waterbearer spreading nourishment - ??

Agree that Escoffier would have been one not to tangle with - most chefs I met were like that- I've seen a few chase waiters around the hotel kitchen, brandishing knife!!

Mark Shulgasser said...

Escoffier's restaurant was called le Faison D'Or, The Golden Pheasant, which suggests the phoenix bird, said to represent the higher spirit of the Scorpion. His association with the Ritz and the Savoy hotels puts him at the center of the champagne society of luxury and excess, the plutocratic Gilded Age/Belle Epoque, where several vividly Scorpionic figures flourished: Edward VII (gluttonous rake), Stanford White (rake murdered on the roof of Escoffier's restaurant), and Sarah Bernhardt (slept in a coffin). Escoffier himself was touched by more than one graft scandal. His discovery and application of the principles of executive management remind me that Peter Drucker, the great executive management theorist, is a Scorpio - Nov. 19, 1909; he also has the Aquarian moon. Scorp/Sagittarius also plays a role, I think, in management principles, the Sagittarian dispersal of the adjacent Scorpionic Will). Scorp is both military (via Mars) and of the Masses (via Pluto); as a chef/officer in the Franco-Prussian War E. developed modern methods of canning and mass-feeding. (So also Scorpio Rodin developed methods of mass-production of sculpture during the same years.) He invented the a la carte menu, trained mass-murdered Ho Chi Minh as a pastry chef, and died of a broken heart two days after the death of his wife of sixty years.

Shawn Carson said...

sounds as if you have had a colorful past in your career. one meets the most interesting people in the hospitality industry, doing the most interesting things...

Shawn Carson said...

are artists like this strongly aquarian because of their "aristocratic" nature? Aquarians are comfortable in all types of social situations and have a knack for setting the tone in conversation. Let's face it, this industry is incredibly demanding and there is no other sign more suited to it than Aquarius, with their rare saturn / uranus magic.

Twilight said...

Mark Shulgasser ~~~ Hi there!
Oh, thanks for that additional information. Escoffier lived in a colorful era didn't he! Not surprising that some of it rubbed off on him.

Yes, chefs have to have a rather unusual combination of talents don't they? They need the artistry and "feel" for food, allied with the management talents akin to an army general - especially when involved in large luxury hotel environment - or even, in a far lesser way, in an intimate bistro with half a dozen staff - management is all.

It'll be interesting to see how other chef;s fare in the astrological line-ups. :-)

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ Not sure about it being colorful, but it had some interesting moments. ;-)

Twilight said...

Shawn ~~~ That Saturn/Uranus combination might be the key - yes!
I often think that Saturn is pushed too far to the back when considering Aquarius.

Aquarius has a modern interpretation of rebel, wild thing, lunatic fringe etc. That doesn't work unless Uranus is well integrated into the chart, IMO. (I could be wrong of course).

The Airy Saturn is good for management, and if allied to some artistic placements in the chart - voila - a potential chef! Perhaps.

anthonynorth said...

Now I'm the world's most basic eater, whereas I've a son who's a chef, and considers it a great artform.

Twilight said...

AN ~~ I'm a very basic eater myself, I like the simplest food best. I think a good cook/chef is one who can cook simple food to perfection. I've always thought that one of the hardest things is to cook an egg - perfectly. :-)

Rossa said...

This is definitely getting more interesting. I have Jupiter, Neptune and MC in Scorpio and Uranus in my opposite sign Leo with Saturn in Cap, my Asc. I also have a Leo Dad, like Shawn. He had a wine business and is a life long good cook and bon viveur who swops recipes with me even now. And we are drinking buddies....in the vino collapso with lunch a la mode....lol

So you may be onto something, Twilight and it'll be interesting to see what you come up with next.

The MoF project followed on from Jamie's School Dinners. It is a centre where people can go to learn to cook healthy food for their families on a budget as opposed to spending money on junk food. Bradford is the 2nd city to set one up and there are about 9 others around the UK in the pipeline.

I heard today that JO is in America now for 9 months doing something similar for a TV channel your side of the pond. I'll try and find out more so you can look out for it if it's of interest.

Fancy your Dad being a Master Baker. I did my Bakery course at Thomas Danby College in Leeds, then went on to to do my Advanced Patisserie and become a Patissiere (Patissier for a man)in London. Small world!

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Thanks for more good feedback! I'll keep an eye out for JO on TV over here.

I'm going to be very random in my choices of subjects for this series - I won't look for ones which "fit a pattern" - that would be counter productive. I'll choose them as they spring to mind - characters that I'm aware of. When I come to the end of those I'll stick a pin in a list I compile from on-line sources.
:-)

Rossa said...

looks like JO's American Roadtrip is to be shown on Channel 4 here in the Autumn, rather than in the US. His MoF programme is on air in Canada at the moment. There is an article about where he went in the States and it may get onto YouTube later on:

http://www.jamieoliver.com/news/jamie-s-american-roadtrip

Twilight said...

Rossa ~~~ Thanks for the link That sounds like something I'd enjoy a lot. Hope it gets into DVD, or even in book-form it's be good. I love reading about trips through the USA by Brits - I like to compare impressions.

If he comes to Oklahoma (they don't usually) he might be rather disappointed in local cuisine.
That's probably why food-loving travellers carry on straight through. ;-)