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GW Parsley: Pastry Cook to Head Chef

George Parsley moved up the ranks in the College Kitchens to become St John's Head Chef in 1891. George Parsley started working in the College Kitchens sometime before 1882. He was born in 1857 in the local village of Stow Cum Quy. A letter held in the Archive collection indicates the he served a 7 year apprenticeship as a cook with PS Hudson & Son at Trinity College. A second letter, a letter of reference from FD George, cook and confectioner to HRH the Princess of Wales, refers to Parsley as a 'very willing and competent Cook .... and I am very vexted at his leaving me." One assumes that Parsley had taken up a post within the Kitchens of the College. Parsley's skills were well known and admired within Cambridge. In the late 19th century the role of the College Cook or Head Chef was that of a small businessman. Not only did he work for the College but he did external trade within the college kitchens; basically he ran a catering business from within the College.

Letter of reference from FD George, Royal Confectioner

Letter of reference for Parsley from FD George, Royal Confectioner, 1889

Letter of reference from SJC Head Cook, E Cash to the Bursar of King's College

Letter of reference from SJC Head Cook, E Cash to the Bursar of King's College

Letter of reference from FD George, confectioner to the Royal Family

Letter of reference from FD George, confectioner to the Royal Family

Page from GW Parsley's Royal Book of Confectionary

Page from GW Parsley's Royal Book of Confectionary

Page from GW Parsley's Royal Book of Confectionary

Page from GW Parsley's Royal Book of Confectionary