The Tragic Death Of Marie-Antoine Carême

The world's first celebrity chef, Marie-Antoine Carême, sadly passed away in 1833. His parting peice of advice to young chefs was "young people who love your art; have courage, perseverance...always hope...don't count on anyone, be sure of yourself, of your talent and your probity and all will be well" (via Webster Prime). However, as he died at the age of 49, it is quite clear that all did not go well for Carême. 

While Eater acknowledges the theory some sources hold that he had retired around this time, they give more credence to the fact that chefs, even royal chefs like Carême, worked in the basement where the fumes of smoke from the fire ensured that the kitchen staff would regularly suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning. "The techniques of cooking at that time required coal, so he died of some kind of pulmonary disease in his forties," Paul Freedman, professor of history at Yale, explained to Eater.

How new cooking technology prevented this from happening

The reason why chefs were in such particular danger and not people just cooking in a domestic sense, is because cooks at the time were seen as servants and were kept in spaces without adequate ventilation, according to the BBC. Thankfully, the issue lessened with improvements in cooking technology. The biggest game changer was the invention of the modern range hood, which more efficiently captured smoke. 

Old World Stonework captures the explosion in patents that occurred at the end of the 1920s and beginning of the 1930s, all of which set out to solve the problem that led to Carême's death. In 1926, for example, Theodore R.N. Gerdes applied to patent the addition of a fan within the fume hood to stop the stray strands of smoke from rolling over the hood's lip. With the promise that your passion will not kill you, Carême's final advice may hold truer.