Wednesday, November 25, 2009

History of French Haute Cuisine

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the States. As it is a "normal" school and work day here, we won't be cooking or hosting or being hosted. So, I'm reduced to reading about everyone else's dinner plans on Facebook! While missing the tastes and companionship associated with my favorite US holiday, I got to thinking about the history of French Haute Cuisine, or fine dining. I then remembered this little "text box" from my upcoming Time Traveler Paris Tours chapter on the French Revolution: Beware Madame La Guillotine.

Enjoy! And Happy Thanksgiving...

Have you ever wondered why France is so famous for La Haute Cuisine? Well, the answer lies with the French Revolution. You see, prior to the Revolution, the finest chefs in France worked in the grand kitchens of the grandest chateaux of the royal and noble families. When the Revolution began to gather momentum, many royals and nobles fled, leaving their cooks and other kitchen staff without a livelihood. These individuals packed up their former employers' pots and pans and moved to Paris to open restaurants, serving the tastes of the growing numbers of revolutionary bourgeoisie.

One such example is the Grand Véfour, the oldest restaurant in Paris, which has occupied the same Palais Royal location for more than 200 years.
Thus, French Haute Cuisine was born, and continues to thrive the world over today. Case in point: It can take up to three months to get a reservation at the Grand Véfour!

Le Grand
Véfour, photo by the Lucky-one-and-only (Loo).

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