An Overview and Brief History of Haute Cuisine’s Grandeur
If you haven’t tasted haute cuisine yet, then you haven’t enjoyed real food until now. This distinct cuisine, which originated from France, is a flawless combination of art and cookery with a poetic food taste and composition. With its ever-evolving gastronomy, haute gourmet is the centerpiece of French cuisine that aims to delight, not only your tongue, but also your eyes.
Despite the varied international dishes introduced and popularized, fine dining is always tantamount to French haute catering. And up until now, French culinary tactics have been the foundation of master chefs and culinary art academies all over the world.
What does haute cuisine mean?
Haute cuisine, which literally means “high cooking,” is a traditional French gourmet with high-quality ingredients and stylish presentation. It’s a special kind of cuisine that highlights quality over quantity in cooking. With only miniscule servings, every dish is composed of first-class sauce and refined ingredients. Haute cuisine is considered to be the food of the noble class and the craft of the chef artists.
What is the beginning of haute cuisine?
The birth of culinary art started from Bartolomeo Scappi in his cookery treatise, Opera dell’arte del cucinar (Works on the Art of Cooking), during 1570 in Italy. Catherine de Medicine, daughter of Madeleine de La Tour d’Auvergne (former Queen of France), brought the book in France, and it was then during the rule of King Louis XIV (1643-1715) the traditional French haute cuisine began and flourished.
Over the century, great chefs innovated and wrote treatises concerning the art and method of cooking. The chefs were hired as personal master cooks in noble class and were treated as artists in the society. French cookbook productions were abundant, and lavish kitchenware and dining became a trend. In 1742, Vincent La Chappelle wrote Le Cuisinier moderne (The Modern Cook) and introduced the nouvelle cuisine—a light, fresh, and delicate dish with aesthetic presentation.
Antonin Careme, a French chef of King George IV, was the forefront of the advancement of haute cuisine with its gourmet of rich sauce and exotic ingredients. After some years, Georges Auguste Escoffier, a prominent chef, led the popularization of the modern haute cuisine. He wrote Le Guide culinaire (1903), which was recognized as the culinary bible and the guide to French cooking until now. The book is an extensive reference of understanding French cuisine and cooking methods for professional cooks and culinary students. Due to its wide demand, after many years, the book was translated into English and published as A Guide to Modern Cookery (1907).
In the 1960s, there was a rebirth of nouvelle cuisine as chefs wanted to counter Escoffier’s sophisticated style of cooking and presentation. Several chefs valued the natural taste and freshness of ingredients, while simplifying food presentation and emphasizing the importance of local dishes. However, there are chefs, who still practice the traditional French haute cuisine to keep its style alive and taste ablaze.
The art of haute cuisine
Food as an art form is an interesting topic for debate. But with its deep tie on human emotion and culture, we need not to say more. The haute cuisine offers an exquisite taste and visual to evoke a combination of simplicity and complexity. It’s a creative expression of the master chefs to give all their time and freedom for a single haute dish. The main purpose of this cuisine is to prepare a perfect dish as possible, and let you feel that dining is a taste of love and happiness.