Category Archives: The Retail Years

Luftwaffe

In half an hour or so, perhaps sooner as I finish this article, I will turn 47.

I feel like a young man but the years have taken their toll on many of my colleagues. From last year you would have read my articles around chefs I had worked with such as Gaston Lenotre and Keith Floyd who have passed away.

Sadly two more associates hit the dirt. Winnie Myers was the chairman of the cookery & food association before me and has been a sterling and very active supporter of the industry for years. I worked with her on many salons and other events and only a few months ago saw her at a cookery competition ‘in her honour’ at Westminster College. ¬†At 93 years of age she came down from the Lake District to attend the competition and remembered me & we spoke for a while about industry challenges. Winnie touched and helped so many people in her career that she will be greatly missed and remembered by many.

Arthur Voggenberger also passed away. After an incredible career at Madame Floris in France and Fortnum & Mason in the UK. Arthur joined the craft guild of chefs since its inception where we met first. We encountered again when he was a lecturer at Seltec College, the teachers were on strike so I came to help out and teach while this debuncle was going on – now you may think of this being treacherous but it was at the request of Arthur who didn’t want to let his students down! Despite not being paid he joined me every time I took a class that year and became my assistant! He was an expert on chocolate and just taught me so much – we sometimes would be cooking/experimenting together long after the class was over – what dedication he had…..

Now Arthur was Austrian and as many young men he was drafted into the forces and Arthur joined the air force. At one of the craft guild of chef’s bashes Prince Philip came over with the Queen Mother who was the associations patron. HRH Philip when he saw someone similar in age would normally quip “now what did you do during the war”

Arthur was particularly nervous as HRH approached and like many others boldly heralded that fateful question. “I was in the air force sir” Jolly good show rebounded HRH which division were you in old chap ” Ummm the Luftwaffe sir” came the reticent reply…… HRH paused for a moment and then said “jolly good scrap that wasn’t it” and then walked on … to which Arthur almost fell over! He was one of the kindest, talented and passionate pastry chefs I ever knew and will not be alone in having long memories of that old friend.