From the Great Pyramids of Giza to the temples of Angkor, gastronomy has been an immense part of the human experience. We know this because our history is full of stories of people trying to make the best possible food using whatever resources and techniques they had.
Escoffier was one of these resourceful people. A chef by profession, he used his natural skill for cooking to become one of the most influential chefs in history. He is best known for his work as the head chef at the famous Hotel de Paris in Paris.
Escoffier’s reputation as one of the best chefs in history is mainly due to his work in the field of classical French cuisine. He was trained in this craft and revolutionized it, making it more accessible and palatable to a larger audience. He is known as the father of modern French cuisine.
In this article, we will be discussing the life of Georges Auguste Escoffier, his contributions to the field of gastronomy, and some of his best-known recipes.
Georges Auguste Escoffier - the man
Georges Auguste Escoffier was born in 1846 in the city of Strasbourg in France. His father, a civil servant, died when he was just three years old, and his mother died shortly after. This left him to be raised by his grandmother, who instilled a love for cooking in him from a very young age.
It’s important to note that at this point in history, women in general were not permitted to learn how to cook. There was a strong social taboo against women learning how to cook and preparing meals for themselves.
When Escoffier was 14 years old, he started working as a kitchen hand in a Strasbourg restaurant. Here, he learned all the basics of cooking and received his first exposure to the art of gastronomy.
After working at the restaurant for a while, Escoffier left to pursue a career as a chef. He went on to work in various restaurants all over France, namely, in Nice, Marseille, Lyon, and Paris.
Origin of French Cuisine
The origin of French cuisine can be traced back in time to the 11th century. This is when the first cookbooks were written in France. It was during this time that French culinary history was established. The cuisine of the French at that time was a combination of the cuisine of the Romans, the Arabs, the Jews, and the Bretons.
One of the earliest cookbooks in French cuisine, called “The Art of Cookery Made Easy,” was written by a woman called Annette Dubost. This was published in 1745, three years before Escoffier was born.
The most famous book written on French cuisine is the “The Art of Cookery of the Most Famous French Cuisine,” written by Monsieur Pierre Gouan. This was published in 1797 and contains about 500 recipes for dishes such as roast chicken, beef stew, and bouillabaisse.
The Four Basic Principles of French Cuisine
The French have been refining their cuisine for centuries, and they have developed some really helpful rules and guidelines while doing so. The four principles of French cuisine are as follows:
- Light and delicate flavours - French cuisine is often described as “light and delicate.” This is because it focuses on balancing the flavours in a dish, and not overwhelming the palate with heavy flavours.
- Freshness - The French are very particular about the freshness of their ingredients. Many of the recipes they use in their cooking call for ingredients that are picked that morning, and not sitting in a store somewhere rotting from the outside in.
- Simple Preparation - French cuisine is often described as being “simple to prepare.” This isn’t just about the food being easy to make, but also about making sure that the dish is balanced and doesn’t require too many steps, and that each step is important.
- Spices - The use of spices is very important in the French kitchen. Spices add flavour to a dish, and are also used to balance the flavours and create a more complex taste in food.
Some of Georges Auguste Escoffier’s Best-Known Recipes
- Boeuf Bourguignon - Beef stew is one of the most common French dishes. It’s rich in flavour, and can be prepared in a number of ways. One of the most common ways to serve this dish is to make a stew, which is what the name of the recipe refers to.
- Pommes De Terre - These are what we call French fries in America. They are a very common side dish in French cuisine. They are usually made from potatoes and sometimes other vegetables such as carrots, onions, and even parsley.
- Lyonnaise - This is a dish made of steak and beans. It can be made in a variety of ways. It is a very common dish in France and is perfect for a big family dinner.
In this article, we have discussed the life and contributions of Georges Auguste Escoffier, a chef and culinary author who is best known for his work in the field of French cuisine.