Rosa Lewis is a legendary figure, but the image of this great Edwardian character is now almost entirely a distorted one. Rosa was far more interesting as a person than the legend suggests. Paradoxically, Rosa herself had a hand in the creation of the false identity. No innocent to the process of publicity, her idiosyncrasies, bad language, extrovert behavior, 'Cockney sparrow' approach were all a deliberate device of hers to invent a personality. They constituted a recipe that almost, but not quite, eclipsed the real Rosa.Rosa Lewis was, and is still considered to have been, the most distinguished woman cook in Europe and America. Not only did she act as chef for such famous personalities as Edward VII, Lady Randolph Churchill, Margot Asquith, the Astors and the Kaiser, but she ran an unrivalled catering service for Edwardian house arties, the Forgign Office and for occasion of State pomp and circumstance. Her close relationships with Sir Anthony Eden's father, Sir William Eden, and Lord Ribblesdale caused controversy and comment, whilst her 'special' duties for the Prince of Wales and her arranged marriage were matters of prime secrecy.When Edward VII died Rosa concentrated all her energies on running her uniquely disreputable hotel, the Cavendish. There, in its ageless Edwardian atmosphere she played hostess to a myriad of celebrated people, including many of the doomed young of the First World War and later, the "Bright Young Things" of the thirties. She was immortalized in satire as Lottie Crump in Evelyn Waugh's Vile Bodies.Rosa Lewis's intriguing personality spanned decades of social change in London. Anthony Masters, in this biography, dispels the mystique which arose out of her own creation and uncovers the true Rosa, an exceptionally generous and strong woman.


Rosa Lewis by Anthony Masters