“Thus was born and baptized this confection, one taste of which, I really believe, would reform a cannibal into a civilized gentleman.” – Henri Charpentier, disputed creator of Crêpes Suzette
Crêpes Suzette is a variation of a crêpe served with a sauce of sugar, orange juice, and liqeur (typically Grand Marnier). For the final and signature touch, chefs pour the liquer over the crêpes and light it on fire.
Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris, Monaco
A fourteen year-old assistant waiter named Henri Charpentier (1880-1961).
Most people tend to lose their nerve when they hear that they are in the presence of a celebrity. This was the cause with novice assistant waiter Henri Charpentier when he learned that he would be serving Prince Edward of Wales (the future English king Edward VII), his beautiful French mistress, Suzette, and a coterie filled with members of high society.
Desperation was high, time was tight, and Charpentier was frenzied. While preparing the food, Charpentier eventually set fire to the crêpes right after he poured liqeur over it. Historicity varies over Charpentier’s method: some claim that he burnt it accidentally by the chafing dish, others say that he purposefully flambéed the crêpes in front of the prince himself. Regardless, the young waiter mustered enough courage to serve the dish as it was.
Once Charpentier brought over the dish, the prince delightfully and promptly cleaned his plate of every last morsel. When asked for the name of the dish, Charpentier told him to call the creation “Crêpes Princesse” in honor of the prince. Charpentier was unable to title it “Crêpes Prince” since “Crêpes” in French is a feminine noun which controls the gender of the adjective(s) associated with it. Prince Edward shot the idea down and instead suggested the name be “Crêpes Suzette” in honor of his paramour.
The following day, Henri Charpentier received three gifts from the prince: a cane, a panama hat, and a jeweled ring. Within a few years, his concoction became a staple of French cuisine.
Ramakrishnan, Rohan. “7 Great Foods (That Were Created Thanks to Dick Moves).”Cracked, 19 Sept. 2010, www.cracked.com/article_18744_7-great-foods-that-were-created-thanks-to-dick-moves.html.
Stradley, Linda. “Crepes Suzette History and Recipe, Whats Cooking America.”What’s Cooking America, 25 Sept. 2017, whatscookingamerica.net/History/CrepesSuzetteHistory.htm.
Trapella, Filippo – philosokitchen.com. “CREPES SUZETTE RECIPE & HISTORY – All You Need to Know!” Philosokitchen, 9 May 2017, philosokitchen.com/crepes-suzette-recipe-history/.