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Culinary History


Quantity cookery has existed for thousands of years, as long as there have been large groups to feed, such as huge convoy of armies.

Modern cuisine began in the middle of the eighteenth century. At this time, food production in France was controlled by special “GUILDS”. Caterers, pastry makers, roasters, and pork butchers held licenses to prepare specific items. An inn keeper, in order to serve a meal to guests, had to buy the various menu items from those operations that were licensed to provide them. Guests had little or no choice and simply ate what was available for that meal.

In 1765, a Parisian chef named Boulanger began advertising on his shop sign that “we serve soups”, which he called restaurants or restoratives (literally, the word means “fortifying”). According to the story, one of the dishes he served was sheep’s feet in cream sauce. The guild of stew makers challenged him in court for violation of guilds act... but Boulanger won by claiming he didn’t stew the feet in the sauce but served them with the sauce. In challenging the rules of the guilds, Boulanger unwillingly changed the face for the course of food service history.

The new developments in food service received a great stimulus as in result of the French revolution, beginning in 1789. Before this time; the great chefs were employed in the houses of the French authorities.

With the revolution and the end of the monarchy, many chefs, suddenly got out of work and opened restaurants and inns where they could serve dinners reflecting the talent and creativity of their own chefs, rather than being forced to rely on licensed caterers to supply their food. At the start of the French revolution, there were about 50 restaurants in Paris, ten years later there were about 500. Another important invention that changed the organization of kitchens in the eighteenth century was the stove.


Marie-Antoine Careme (1784-1833) : As a young man, Careme learned all the branches of cooking quickly, and he dedicated his career to refining and organizing culinary techniques. His many books contain the first systematic account of cooking principles, recipes, and menu making.

Chef Escoffier

Georges Auguste Escoffier (1847-1935), the greatest chef of his time, is still today revered by chefs and gourmet industry as the father of twentieth-century cookery.

His two main contributions were:

1) the simplification of classical cuisine and the classical menu, and

2) the reorganization of the kitchen.

Escoffier rejected what he called the “general confusion” of the old menus, in which sheer quantity seemed to be the most important factor. Instead, he called for order and diversity and emphasized the careful selection of one or two dishes per course, dishes that followed one another harmoniously and delighted the taste with their delicacy and simplicity.

Escoffier’s books and recipes are still important reference works for professional chefs. The basic cooking methods and preparations we study today are based on Escoffier’s work. His book “le guide cullinaire”, which is still widely used, arranges recipes in a simple system based on main ingredient a cooking method, according to Escoffier, begin with learning a relatively few basic procedures and understand basic ingredients.

Escoffier’s second major achievement, the reorganization of the kitchen, resulted in a streamlined workplace that was better suited to turning out the simplified dishes and menus he instituted. The system of organization he established is still in use today, especially in large hotels and full-service restaurants.

Modern technology

Today’s kitchen looks much different from those of Escoffier’s day, though our basic cooking principles are the same. Also, the dishes we eat have gradually changed due to the innovations and creativity of modern chefs. The process of simplification and refinement, to which chef Careme and Escoffier made monumental contributions, is still ongoing, adapting classical cooking to modern conditions and tastes.

Development of new equipment

Modern refrigeration and rapid transportation caused revolutionary changes in eating habits. For the first time, fresh foods of all kinds- meats, fish, vegetables, and fruits- became available throughout the year. Exotic delicacies can now be shipped from anywhere in the world and arrive fresh in peak condition. The development of preservation techniques-not just refrigeration but also freezing, canning, freeze- drying, vacuum packing, and irradiation increased the availability of most foods and made affordable some that were once rare and expensive.

Cooking in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

A generation after Escoffier, the most influential chef in the middle of the twentieth century was Fernand Point (1897-1955). Working quietly and steadily in his restaurant, la pyramide, in Vienne, France, point simplified and lightened classical cuisine. “point insisted that every meal should be ‘a little marvel”

Many of his apprentices, such as Paul Bocuse, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, and Alain Chapel, went on to become some of the greatest stars of modern cooking. They, along with other chefs in their generation, became best known in the 1960s and early 1970s for a style of cooking called nouvelle cuisine. Reacting to what they saw as a heavy, stodgy, overly complicated classical cuisine, these chefs took point’s lighter approach even further. They rejected many traditional principles, such as a dependence on flour to thicken sauces, and instead urged simpler, more natural flavours and preparations, with lighter sauces and seasonings and shorter cooking times. In traditional classical cuisine, many dishes were plated in the dining room by waiters. Nouvelle cuisine, however, placed a great deal of emphasis on artful plating presentations done by the chef in the kitchen. Very quickly, however, this “simpler” style became extravagant and complicated, famous for strange combinations of foods and fussy, ornate arrangements and designs. By the 1980s, nouvelle cuisine was the subject of jokes.


❖ Modern cuisine began in the middle of the 18th century.

❖ At that time it was controlled by the guilds used for licencing of butchery, baker, pastry maker, or for specific items.

❖ In 1765, Paris citizen named Boulanger begun to advertise his shop sign (which used to serve soup) named called restaurants or restorative which stands for fortifying.

❖ According to the story the dish that he uses to serve was sheep feet in cream sauce & guild got offended by this thing & challenged him in court but Boulanger won the case by saying he didn’t cook the feet in sauce but served sauce with feet.

❖ In challenge the Boulanger unwillingly changed the course of the food history.

❖ Before French revolution in 1789, food industry in France saw so many ups & downs & before this time great chefs were employed in royal palaces or high French nobilities.

❖ With revolution it ended up and chefs were free from this foundation due to these chefs were out of work & started opening their restaurants.

❖ Revolutionist government abolished the monarchy of guilds, at the start of revolution there were 50 restaurants in Paris, but ten year later they grew up to 500.

❖ Stove was again invented at the end of 18th century and use of fuel started.

Modern Technology

These days kitchen look more difficult as the days of Escoffier or chef Careme, also the dishes have gradually changed due to the creativity of modern chefs where as basic remain same and it is still going on.

Development of new equipments

• Electric range

• Infrared cooking

• Microwaves

• Thermal power heated cooking trap

• Motorised food processor.

Cooling, freezing, heating, & processing is more simplified

Development and availability of new food products

Modern refrigeration & quick transportation has caused revolutionary changes in eating habits. For the first time fresh foods of all kinds-meats, fish, vegetables & fruits have become available throughout the year. Freezing, canning, irradiation.


A generation after Escofier, were the most influential chefs like Fernand Point (1897-1955) working quietly in his restaurant “Le Pyramide” in Vienne- France. Chef Point re-simplified and lightened the classical cuisine he insisted that every food must be handled as “a little marvel”. Many of his apprentices like Chef Paul Bocuse, Jean Pierre & Chef Troisgros with Alain Chapel went on to become the greatest stars of modern cuisine. These chefs started the foundation of nouvelle cuisine which was more sophisticated and delightful, whereas they rejected many of the traditional methods & principles of cooking and introduced new ones.

Nouvelle cuisine emphasised neat & artful plating techniques it got so fussed about & complicated and became the subject of jokes (later on asked for a return to basics).


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