Louis Szathmary (June 2, 1919 - October 4, 1996) was a Hungarian-American chef who discovered his passion for the culinary arts while writing a cooking manual during his time as a Private in the Hungarian Army. Shortly after his time in the Army, he enrolled in a Hungarian chef's school and took an advanced course.
In 1951, Szathmary immigrated to the United States speaking no English and with only $1.10 in his pocket. He started working as a short-order cook and worked his way up the ranks until he was catering to the elite. In 1959, he moved to Chicago to work for Armour and Company, where he developed frozen food lines for Stouffer's and other frozen food companies.
From 1963 to 1989, Szathmary operated his own restaurant called "The Bakery". The Bakery attracted guests from all over the world and was featured in over 200 articles in its first year of operation, alone.
Szathmary began collecting books shortly after arriving in America and amassed around 45,000 books and culinary materials during his lifetime. This immense collection has been divided amongst the University of Iowa, the University of Chicago, DePaul University, Boston University, and Johnson & Wales University.
Among the more than 20,000 items in Chef Szathmary's culinary arts collection are just over 100 German, Czech, Irish, English and American manuscript recipe books. The collection also includes a group of manuscripts related to food from the Chicago writer Nelson Algren.
About this project
DIY History lets you do it yourself to help make historic artifacts easier to use. Our digital library holds hundreds of thousands of items -- much more than library staff could ever catalog alone, so we're appealing to the public to help out by attaching text in the form of transcriptions.