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During his 50-year regency over the cuisine of New York's famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Oscar Tschirky—Oscar of the Waldorf to thousands of epic epicures —rose to such gastronomic eminence that his memory endures in menus, viands and appetites the world over. A greeter, Oscar in his white chef's cap stood figuratively astride the gourmet banquet table like some culinary colossus, a familiar and beloved figure to trenchermen of his day. No such adulation has fallen on the narrow Gallic shoulders of Oscar's successor, Claudius Charles Philippe, 47. Son of a French chef, London-born Philippe migrated to the U.S. in 1929,...

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