The Great Names of the Kitchen: Auguste Escoffier

In a small town in France was born the man who changed the way in which the kitchen was seen forever, to turn it into the culinary art.

Auguste Escoffier, is undoubtedly one of the most recognized names by chefs around the world. It was he who made the kitchen advance to what we know today, developing techniques, standards in the kitchen, aesthetics of the plating and much more.

In his time he was a daring visionary who discovered the need to create a structure to take the kitchen to the next step.

He reinvented the haute cuisine of Antoine Carême, undoing the idea of exaggerated garnishes by changing them to cooked vegetables with a delicate decoration with parsley.

He developed the concept of “everything that is placed on the plate should be edible”. He implemented the use of flavors in a balanced way, without excess ingredients.

His philosophy in the kitchen was based on the simplicity of the structures inside the kitchen. This was the basis of creating crews to work inside the kitchen, simple plates and let you appreciate all the elements that make up a dish.

Another innovation he applied to the time was the menu planning, serving the Russian style, where one dish is served after another in the order that is set in the menu, instead of all the dishes on the table, which is the French style.

Contributions to the kitchen

  • Elaborated the first menu of a restaurant
  • Developed strict food handling and hygiene standards
  • Reduced the number of dishes constituting an average menu
  • The simplification and structure of the work in the kitchen, carried out by a brigade directed by the chef, composed in turn by different chefs’ orders sent by a boss.
  • The incorporation of ingredients according to the season of the year.

Escoffier Facts

1902 – Publishes his first book, entitled The Culinary Guide, which contains 5,000 recipes of French cuisine. Even today it’s used as a textbook and cookbook.

1904 – The cruise company “Hamburg-Amerika Lines” instructs Escoffier to design the kitchens of its ships.

1912 – Designed the menu and dishes of the world’s most famous ocean liner passengers, The Titanic.

1920 – Becomes the first cook to receive the distinction of ‘Legion of Honor’, the highest French recognition given to civilians and military who for their work have praised the name of France.

1928 – He is appointed Officer of the Legion, also the first cook to receive this recognition.

1934 – Participated as a prestigious author in the writing of the Larousse gastronomique.

1935 – At the age of 89 this great man dies; a few days after the death of his wife.

  • In his hometown there is a monument to remember and honor him. It was made by popular request.
  • There is a museum with his name in Villeneuve-Loubet, inaugurated in 1957. Documents, letters and old menus, Escoffier’s table in the Carlton Hotel where he wrote the menus or prepared the structure of the banquets.

«Simplicity must be the characteristic of the presentation» George Auguste Escoffier

 

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