In the backward 1960s, able-bodied afore the era of celebrity chefs and the flood of affable shows, Irena Chalmers begin herself ashore with six fondue pots at La Bonne Femme, the affable academy and specialty aliment boutique she opened in Greensboro, N.C.
At the time, few in that baby Southern burghal had heard of fondue. So to advance the dish, Ms. Chalmers wrote a abbreviate aggregate of recipes alleged “Fondue Cook-In.” It worked. The pots sold, and the book would be the aboriginal of added than 100 titles she would address or afterwards broadcast for added cooks, abounding of whom went on to become acclaimed affable authorities.
Ms. Chalmers died of esophageal blight on April 4 at her home in Kingston, N.Y., her daughter, Hilary Chalmers, said. She was 84.
Although Ms. Chalmers had continued been absorbed in cooking, her career didn’t booty off until 1971, aback she afar her aboriginal bedmate and confused aback to New York (where they had met). She bound apparent a bazaar for short, affordable single-subject booklets like her fondue book. Home cooks begin them to be acceptable alternatives to the big compendiums of time-consuming recipes that were accepted at the time.
She additionally wrote the compound booklets that came with a beachcomber of new products, like the Cuisinart aliment processor, yogurt makers, bake ovens and the French Le Creuset cookware she came to love.
With an adeptness to bazaar account and a faculty of what cooks absolutely wanted, she emerged as a anchor of aptitude and created a book packaging company.
For about a decade Ms. Chalmers busy two floors of an Upper East Side brownstone in Manhattan endemic by Barbara Kafka, a aliment biographer and restaurant consultant. She abiding Ms. Kafka to let Ms. Chalmers’ aggregation broadcast Ms. Kafka’s aboriginal cookbook, “American Aliment & California Wine,” in 1984.
Ms. Chalmers, who was quick to bandy out a able animadversion and never shy about alms her cleareyed appraisal of the aliment world, became a accepted academician and adviser to New York’s able affable community, which included James Beard and others who formed the foundation for a admeasurement of affable media and bounded American restaurants in the 1990s.
She sometimes took a contrarian appearance of trends. “I anticipate insisting on accepting a free-range chicken,” she generally said, “is like accepting a free-range boyfriend. You never apperceive area he’s been.”
When Christopher Kimball was because starting his aboriginal magazine, Cook’s Illustrated, in 1980, he approved her advice.
“She was the aboriginal being to absolutely accomplish the case that there was activity to be a huge anarchy in American aliment and restaurants, and we were activity to focus on our own affable and own ingredients,” he said. “She was actual acute about the future.”
Irena Chalmers-Taylor was built-in in London on June 5, 1935, to William and Alys Chalmers-Taylor. She became a midwife and a assistant afterwards her ancestor beat her from belief to be a doctor.
She was accomplished at the clandestine Haberdashers’ Aske’s Academy for Girls alfresco London, accustomed a midwife’s affidavit at a maternology hospital and completed a yearlong affairs at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London.
On the day she arrived, she met Fredric D. Kirshman. They affiliated and had two children. She additionally began to breed a adulation of aliment and cooking, sparked in ample allotment by a weeklong chic at Le Cordon Bleu London. Mr. Kirshman confused the ancestors to the South aback he acquired a job an as controlling with a bluejeans manufacturer.
Ms. Chalmers spent 16 years teaching at the Comestible Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and championed women in the comestible fields. She was a architect of both Les Dames d’Escoffier International and the International Association of Comestible Professionals, at whose contest she would generally authority cloister and bear acclaim bitter witticisms, alluring her to Julia Child, a friend.
The chef Jacques Pepin was a approved at those sessions, and the two would aggravate anniversary added about whether his French emphasis or her British one was thicker.
“She was arguable because she was aboveboard to the point of bluntness,” he said in an interview. “But she was the blazon of being I admired because you consistently knew area you stood with her.”
Ms. Chalmers, whose additional marriage, to Allen D. Bragdon, additionally concluded in divorce, eventually began alive with the baroque New York restaurateur Joe Baum, the man abaft the Four Seasons, the adjustment of the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center and the redesign of Windows on the Apple at the Apple Trade Center. She and Mr. Baum concluded up in a adventurous relationship.
Ms. Chalmers knew several of the workers who asleep in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. She never absolutely befuddled the agony of that event, her babe said, and eventually confused from Manhattan to upstate New York.
Besides her daughter, she is survived by a son, Philip Kirshman.
Until her aftermost days, Ms. Chalmers remained a committed cook. Hilary Chalmers said neither she nor her brother were actual acceptable cooks because their mother had consistently been in the kitchen.
A few weeks afore her death, she fabricated her way from her bedchamber to the kitchen to accomplish abiding her babe was advancing supper correctly. It was to be her admired abundance food: buzz chicken.
Ms. Chalmers said her mother anon took over trussing and condiment the bird.
“That was the aftermost affair she cooked,” she said.
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