A Culinary Revolution

Setting aside the extravagant banquets and the unnecessary richness of traditional French cuisine, Escoffier developed a new gastronomic philosophy, a sense of highly refined simplicity in dining, taking into account nutrition principles and freshness of ingredients.

Before Escoffier’s time, the Grande Cuisine was laden with excess – overly complicated recipes, ponderously extravagant dinners, sauces and garnishes that disguised main ingredients nearly beyond recognition. In accordance with his admonition, “above all, keep it simple,” Escoffier developed a new gastronomic philosophy, a sense of highly refined simplicity in dining, ideals that have since been espoused by the finest chefs of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Escoffier’s emphasis on the tongue was the source of his culinary revolution. In his kitchen, a proper cook was a man of “exquisite sensitivity, “carefully studying the trifling details of each separate flavor before he sends his masterpiece of culinary art before his patrons.”

A sauce should not dominate the dish it accompanies, but enhance it. Escoffier abolished the practice of boiling meat or preparing it in flour. Instead, he developed sauces and stocks such as ‘le fond de veau clair’ (veal stock) using meat extracts that were easier to digest and more nutritious.

He realised that Haute Cuisine must take into account the basic rules of nutrition, and wanted his food to be light and savoury, made only with the freshest, in season ingredients. He supported local agriculture long before it was popular, regularly visited farms to incite farmers to produce more vegetables.

Escoffier was also a pioneer in food preservation and in developing sauces that could be bottled for the homemaker. He invented canned tomatoes, while also helping to create both stock cubes (Maggi’s Kub) and the cultivated mushroom industry.