Alexis Soyer, a significant chef, humanitarian, and inventor, was born in France on February 4th, 1810. He learned to cook in France, but left for London during the 1830 revolution. While in London, he began work in the renowned kitchen of the Duke of Cambridge.
Soyer was a man with a social conscious and eventually petitioned to work for the Irish government. Leaving his prestigious position behind, he set up kitchens across the nation during the potato famine. Later he was sent to the front lines of the Crimean War where he fed the starving British troops. However his most important, long lasting contribution to the culinary world happened on today's date in 1855. At that time he created and introduced the first portable oven, shown at left, which allowed him to serve the soldiers warm meals on the field. Amazingly, the basic design was still in use by the British Army over a century later during the first Gulf War.