‘True gent’ who baked cakes for Winston Churchill and Prince Charles
Artur Voggenberger was a reluctant conscript to the German army in World War Two, but his baking skills also saw him called into service by the Royal family and Winston Churchill.
The Austrian’s culinary whiz’s journey started in humble surroundings as a potwasher on an Austrian mountain.
After serving time as a hotel houseboy for two years, Mr Voggenberger, who died on December 27 aged 86, eventually earned his spurs in the kitchen and his mastery of patisserie emerged.
He also met his future wife Ann at the hotel, who later sent him a letter with a work permit, a train ticket and a job offer. Although Mr Voggenberger was already engaged to the daughter of a newspaper publisher in Innsbruck, he took his chances and took up digs in Camden Mews with Ann and did not look back.
Mr Voggenberger was soon baking for Churchill out of Madame Floris’ kitchen in Soho.
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The cake he created for the revered politician’s 88th birthday was emblazoned with the words “I am not to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire”.
Mr Voggenberger was called on again by the former Prime Minister to cook for him at his private residence.
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He went to work at Fortnum & Mason, cooking for embassies and at Buckingham Palace – baking a birthday cake for Prince Charles himself.
After his spell at the department store, he went on to teach at a college in Lewisham.
His niece Eva-Maria Goldmann said: “He felt very much at home in the Torriano pub, supping pints of Pedigree, generously buying rounds of drink, a glint in his eye and a proffered handshake to regulars who looked on him as family.
“On special occasions he could be seen proudly unveiling cakes of such deliciousness that they seemed to come from another world.”
Drinking buddy Bernie Crawley said: “He was old school and just the most incredibly kind gentleman you could meet.
“He had a word and a handshake for everyone.”