Robert May's The Accompisht Chef

Images of Robert May The Accomplisht Chef book

Robert May (1588- ~1664) was the Michelin starred chef during the 17th-century, only catering for the highest levels of society.

An Englishman who trained in France, May’s book, The Accomplisht Cook Or the Art and Mystery of Cooking, was first published in 1660 and was the first major book of English recipes.

While his recipes were based on traditional dishes, they were embellished with large quantities of expensive, important spices, fruits and nuts.

He made the humble pie theatrical and indulgent and believed no expense should be spared.
The book celebrated foodie trends from Europe and included ingredients from America, such as turkey, sweet potatoes and white (Virginnia) potatoes.

Apparently, when a 1678 edition of the book was discovered and put up for sale in 2007, auctioneer Charles Hanson said, “No more than 200 of these books were ever printed in the period.”