Conil, Jean 1917-2003

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CONIL, Jean 1917-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born August 28, 1917, in Fontenay-le-Comte, France; died April 18, 2003, in England. Chef and author. Conil was a renowned chef whose life mission was to improve the cuisine of his adopted country, England. Descending from a long line of chefs who had cooked for such historical figures as Louis XVI and Napoleon III, Conil was educated at Stanislas College in Paris and trained under famed chef Auguste Escoffier. He found his way to London after fleeing the Germans in 1940. Joining the British Royal Navy, he served as a chef and cooked for an admiral. After the war, Conil found work at the Savoy Hotel in London. In 1950 he became senior chef and senior manager at the catering company Fortnum & Mason. His disgust for English cooking inspired his crusade to teach the British how to cook. Toward this end, he wrote 110 cookbooks, founded the International Academy of Chefs de Cuisine in 1949, was the founder and president of the Society of Master Chefs in 1982, was principal of the Academy of Gastronomy, and was one of the first chefs to host his own televised cooking show with Café Continental, which aired in the early 1960s. Conil was also catering director for the Atheneum Court Hotel in London from 1955 to 1958, senior catering manager for the Hurlingham Club in London from 1962 to 1964, and food and cookery lecturer at Hendo College of Hotel Administration during the late 1960s. His last position was with the London Arts Club, where he was executive chef until his retirement. During his lifetime, Conil never shied away from controversy and was famous for his frankness. He claimed that the British are extraordinarily wasteful with their food, accused almost all kitchen chefs in England of being alcoholics, and roundly criticized the food offered by Britain's major supermarket chains. Some of Conil's many books include Haute Cuisine (1953), The Epicurean Book (1961), Passion for Food (1991), and Jean Conil's Food Encyclopedia (1996). In addition to his cookbook writing, Conil was cookery correspondent for the London Sunday Times, contributed regularly to the Daily Telegraph, and was editor of Look and Cook magazine.



Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2003, p. B17.

New York Times, May 4, 2003, p. A34.

Times (London), May 22, 2003.