From Punch and Judy to Haute Cuisine - a Biography of the Life and Times of Arthur Edwin Simms 1915 to 2003

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Arthur Simms was an amazing and an exceptional man. This biography has been described as a timeless 'evergreen' which captivates interest and even entertainment from a socio-historical context, through chartering the life of a man from lowly beginnings in London's 1920's Kennington. A man who became a leading light in hospitality management education post 1945 and who played a role in elevating standards, qualifications and the societal perception of this occupation as a profession, as it is recognised today. This book has 473 pages and some 300 illustrations placing it beyond limits for the bedtime reader. Here are fourteen chapters which are free standing but linked to one another with some features on 'experiential learning' and 'transferrable skills', as well as other avenues for research in further and higher education centres. Chapter 1 by Geoff Felix also an author, Punch and Judy performer and maker of ventriloquial figures, describes Arthur assisting his father, the celebrated ventriloquial figure maker 'Quisto', performing 'Punch and Judy' to the royal children at Buckingham Palace. Furthermore Arthur's trip to the palace kitchens 'for the ice cream which changed his life' ie: - his career choice. Chapters 2 and 3 uncover Arthur's schooldays leading to Westminster Technical Institute where he gained a first class cookery diploma. Then in chapter 4, his work experience in some prestigious London hotels and the Carlton's and George V in Paris, having been granted a one year work visa. Chapter 5 describes his return and experience at the Savoy Grill, the Trocadero, the Grand Hotel Leicester and the Gargoyle Club London. Then, in World War 11 as a founder of the British Army Catering Corps and afterwards as Head Chef at the Potsdam Conference in 1945. As a champion for the improvement of training standards and qualifications, he became first head at Brighton Municipal College Catering Department in 1946 (Chapter 6) and in 1952 to a purpose-built department at Portsmouth Municipal College. (Chapter 9) Between 1964 and 1966 he was seconded as Principal, to the Pusa Institute New Delhi India. (Chapter11). Other chapters cover his membership of the City and Guilds committee for the first professional cookery examinations (Chapter 7), the founding of the Hotel and Catering Institute (Chapter 8) and links to the Association Culinaire Francaise (Chapter 12). The development of Hospitality management in higher education gets extensive coverage in Chapter 10 and the concluding chapters are 13, on his consultancy with Chandris Lines and 14, on his final years. Each chapter has appendices for more in-depth information for further interest or research; on a career spanning five decades, promoting Haute Cuisine under the French influence in some former colonial destinations. 'Uncle' Arthur's name lives on and he is remembered today by hundreds of his former students' colleagues and friends worldwide.