Haute cuisine

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The protagonist of haute cuisine : Auguste Escoffier (in the foreground left; next to him Prime Minister Édouard Herriot on the right ) with cooking brigade, 1928

The term haute cuisine [ ot kɥiˈzin ] ( French “high cuisine”) is now an internationally known term for the so-called “sophisticated” cuisine, mainly offered in restaurants . It was minted in France in the 19th century . At the same time, the French kitchen language has also emerged as international.

French cuisine as a role model

For centuries, French culinary art was considered a culinary reference in the western world. It still has an excellent reputation in upscale gastronomy today . Many gastronomic terms come from French.

The magnificence and the culinary effort that was carried out at French courts and that was continued in the upper class (grande cuisine) promoted the emergence of a refined food culture that was pursued with great financial expense. In 1780, the author of the epoch-making work L'Art du cuisinier ("The Art of Cooking"), Antoine Beauvilliers, opened the first restaurant in the modern sense in Paris , La grande taverne de Londres ("The great tavern of London"), in which the guests dined at separate tables instead of communal tables and could choose different dishes from a menu .

After the French Revolution , many chefs who had become unemployed and who were still in the service of the nobility in the Ancien Régime opened their own restaurants for a middle-class clientele. Words and works by French top chefs such as Marie-Antoine Carême , Guillaume Tirel , Auguste Escoffier , Jules Gouffé , Philéas Gilbert, Urbain Dubois and Henri-Paul Pellaprat , and more recently Paul Bocuse and Alain Ducasse have influenced numerous generations of restaurateurs and chefs. Specialist magazines and culinary circles were founded and gastrosophical treatises were written, such as by Alexandre Grimot de la Reynière and Anthelme Brillat-Savarin .

The history of the term Haute Cuisine also refers to the hierarchical tradition of French cuisine.


It is from this tradition that French cuisine is divided into four

  1. The haute cuisine ( "Haute Cuisine") is the best of the best for a small circle of connoisseurs (see. The "haute cuisine today" section). In this sense, French haute cuisine is proudly viewed as an art form and national treasure in its own right, encompassing the entire culinary universe.
  2. La cuisine bourgeoise ("the bourgeois kitchen") does not refer to the home-style kitchen , but the ambitious domestic kitchen with guests, whereby the host does not necessarily have to cook himself. Marcel Proust's novel In Search of Lost Time , it can be seen that the results did not have to lag behind haute cuisine. Even today people in France like to cook very well for guests.
  3. La cuisine régionale (“the regional cuisine ”) divides France into the thirty-three old provinces and is, as Brillat-Savarin put it , “the carpet on which haute cuisine walks”.
  4. La cuisine impromptue ( "the improvised kitchen") is the art with skill, simple means and, if necessary, even on the campsite the gems together ( "artifacts") from the market or the fish freshly bought at the harbor with a good meal.

Haute cuisine today

Even if the culinary reality in today's France does not always fit into this classification, the claim of first-class chefs to do the best in top-class gastronomy has remained modern . The following ingredients of haute cuisine are timeless:

  • First-class, inspired and professional cuisine with creative standards and improvisation . The exotic cuisine can be cited as well as the regional cuisine,
  • Market-fresh, exquisite raw materials,
  • Attention to detail and a perfect arrangement that includes the selection and design of the wine list as well as the perfect serving technique and the arrangement of the dishes,
  • Knowledge of literature, the competition and the target group: guests who take long journeys and astronomical calculations in order to enjoy a (possibly star-crowned ) gourmet cuisine .

En cuisine, comme dans tous les arts, la simplicity est le signe de la perfection.

"In the kitchen, as in all arts, simplicity is the proof of perfection."

- Brillat-Savarin

Meanwhile, various characteristics of “classic” haute cuisine are viewed critically, such as the use of expensive ingredients such as foie gras , a comparatively large amount of butter and cream, painstakingly reduced sauces, and elaborate cooking methods and presentation. In contrast to this or as a further development, the nouvelle cuisine that emerged in the early 1970s emphasizes lighter and simpler preparations and more down-to-earth ingredients (such as fresh, steamed vegetables or perfectly fried meat and fish etc.). Today, top international gastronomy is primarily oriented towards nouvelle cuisine. The current trend is towards “ultra-fresh” cuisine, preferably with local ingredients, as propagated by Alice Waters and the California cuisine , which she significantly influenced .

Web links

Wiktionary: Haute Cuisine  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations