Michel Egoroff was a working chef whose long career is detailed in this comprehensive collection of handwritten journals. Egoroff worked in no less than 8 countries: France, Monaco, Italy, England, Croatia, Serbia Slovenia, and the United States. This ambitious chef specialized in patisserie and worked at upscale hotels around the world. Egoroff's anthology of notebooks details the breadth of his career, which spanned over 50 years with each journal connecting seamlessly from one language to the next. He was fluent (or near fluent) in French, English, Russian and German. Egoroff took meticulous notes, demonstrating throughout his career the techniques he most likely wanted to pass on to the next generation - our theory, after spending a great deal of time with these journals, is, Egoroff was embarking on making these records into a book.
The earliest notebooks, dated 1925, are written in cursive Russian with patches of French, German, and Italian. His knowledge of French is phonetic in nature, so that the spelling is a casual approximation of a word's sound. Many recipes have notes, expansions, or attributions added subsequently. Three of the volumes also act as scrapbooks with photos, magazine and newspaper clippings, product brochures, business cars, illustrated post cards, and miscellaneous recipes either tipped in or loose among the pages.
Egoroff possibly left Russia soon after the revolution when anyone who had the financial means to travel would have done so. According to Professor Darra Goldstein, author of Beyond the North Wind: Russian in Recipes and lore, Egoroff was probably well off enough to leave in his teens during the first great wave of emigration. his knowledge of French also positions him as a member of an upper class. The first tangible evidence of his whereabouts outside Russia is in the form of a folio business card for his pastry shop on Rue Caroline in the Condamine area behind the pleasure port of Monaco. While there are no other available records pertaining to the business, the municipal journal of Monaco for the dates of May 19 and 26, 1938 carry a notice of the closing and sale of the shop.
During World War II he was likely in Croatia, Serbia, and Slovenia; one of his notebooks from this period carries a heading of rasta roba (wartime goods) in Croatian. In 1942 he was listed as a persecutee fleeing Petinska in Serbia to England. In half of the notebooks there are recipes attributed to Floris Bakery in London.
Egoroff entered the United States in 1952 by ship from England. His destination was listed as Washington, D.C., but there are neither recipe attributions nor ephemera from there. Recipe attributions cite a bakery called Babka and the St. Regis hotel in New York City. In Dallas, Texas he was employed at the Hotel Adolphus and in Houston at the Shamrock Hilton. At the latter he was the head pastry chef, perhaps for the first time. During his time in Houston, he and his wife (Elyce Pohlmann) petitioned for naturalization in 1957. From Texas he moved to California where he was head pastry chef at the Hotel Biltmore and the Music Center in Los Angeles.
From California the only clues to his whereabouts at the end of his life are 2 address labels, one for Lemgo, Germany (his wife was German) and another for Knokke-Heist, a beach resort on the North Sea, in Belgium. It's possible that he was employed at a hotel in Knokke-Heist as there are a tipped in business card from the hotel there and several recipes following it. The only online record of his death is written in Flemish.
Vol. I: 144 pages. 20 x 16 cm. "Paris - Monte Carlo - Nice - Belgrad - Ljubljana 1925-1941 [Peyennibe] [Kohgumepckui] [Muscausa Eropoba]" Collection of handwritten recipes in Russian, many accompanied by sketches. Brown waxed notebook, cover detached.
Vol. II: 214 pages. 22 x 16.5 cm. "Egoroff Michel - Patisserie confiserie cuisine - New York City 1953"
Written in French, German, and English with a comprehensive list of different types of pastry and its components, divided under separate headings - possibly was a plan for an eventual cookbook or to be used as a cooking course. Black and white marbled composition book. Edges rubbed.
Vol. III: 288 pages. 22 x 17 cm. "1925-1950 Egoroff Michel - Patjsserse Conjserje [Belgrad, Ljublijana, Fiume, Abbazia, Firenze, Paris, Nice, Monte-Carlo, Londres] [New York 1952, Dec. 8 - Houston 1952-1959, Los Angeles July 20, 1959]
Nearly 300 pages of handwritten recipes - written in Russian, French, and English. Letter dated 1953 laid in, from a friend congratulating Michel on his new job. Curano notebook, significant wear to binding - hinges reinforced at head and tail with tape.
Vol. IV: Three Composition notebooks (1) 72 pages. 22 x 18 cm. "Petits Fours" - includes over 90 recipes written in English and French. Note cards laid in. Black and white marbled composition book, heavily rubbed.
(2) 40 pages. 22 x 18 cm. "Michel Egoroff 1925 - 1955, Patissier - confiseur/Les Petit fours/La liste" Written in English and French. Black and white marbled composition book, heavily rubbed. (3) 39 pages. 22 x 16 cm. Recipes written in English, French, and Russian. Recipes with extensive notations and writings in margins demonstrating how a chef would check off or edit certain recipes to suit their needs.
Vol. V: 122 pages. 26 x 20 cm. "May 1955 - Michel Egoroff - 227 West Alabama, Houston, Texas - The Shamrock". Written in English, includes recipes, daily schedules, and diagrams for pastries. Egoroff was employed as the pastry chef for the Shamrock Hotel, which upon its construction in 1949, was the largest hotel in the United States. Brown waxed covered cardboard. Cover detached.
Vol. VI: 300 pages. 31 x 20 cm. "No. 1 Book - The Modern Pastry Chef's Guide to Professional Baking" (Title cut and adhered to front of journal from jacket of cookbook of the same name by Dominique D' Ermo, published in 1962). Recipes written in English, French, and German. Egoroff is now living in Sherman Oaks, California and is the pastry chef for the Biltmore Hotel. This journal is overflowing with recipes along with news clippings pertaining to the chef, photographs, and hand drawn images. Cloth covered boards, in very good condition.
Vol. VII: 300 pages. 31 x 10 cm. "No. 2 Book ". This journal is from Egoroff's time working in Los Angeles - at the Biltmore Hotel and possibly teaching at Pavilion and Curtain Call at the Music Center, two restaurants owned by the famed American restauranteur, Fred Harvey, located in the Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles. Recipes written in English and French. Mementos of his time in Los Angeles include memos, photographs, menus, news clippings, and lists and notes pertaining to the pastry. Press clippings also show the famous clientele he catered to during his time at the Music Center restaurant. Cloth covered boards, in very good condition.
Vol. VIII: "Chef Egoroff - Biltmore, Start Working March 27, 1961, Finished Working November 29, 1969" 152 pages. 31 x 20 cm. Recipes, lists, telephone numbers of suppliers, drawing of pastry, and many pages of notes laid in. Index of recipes in rear with notes in English and Russian. Cloth covered boards, heavily rubbed and reinforced with tape.
Vol. VIII: "The Modern Pastry Chef's Professional Pastry Chef's Guide. Petite Anthologie et Le Répertoire de La Pâtisserie et des entremets d'Hôtels et de /restaurants. Les Recettes - The Recipe's 1925-1970. (handwritten)" With address sticker for Michel Egoroff from outside Ghent, Belgium. 300 pages. 30 x 21.5 cm. 5 pages of handwritten notes in French and English. This seems to be an attempt at creating a cookbook out of all of his journals.
Vol. VIII - XIII: These notebooks include glued newspaper/book clippings, all in French - recipes and food writing. Many of these clippings are from Gazette du Ménage and Les Propos de Tante Rosalie - published in Brussels. These may have been the property of Egoroff's wife, Elyce, as many of the recipes and instructions are for domestic economy.
We have fully indexed each journal and can provide indepth descriptions of every volume on request. Item #2622