Alas: haute cuisine today is called a lot of things – almost everything that seems delicious and difficult to prepare. But in fact it is quite a specific concept.
Distinctive characteristics of haute cuisine
Culinary is a science, and haute cuisine is a very real term. It refers to a group of certain gastronomic standards that came from Europe.
It is characteristic of haute cuisine:
- Using only fresh and quality products
- The presence of unique and original dishes
- Exquisite and sophisticated serving of dishes
If a self-respecting establishment complies with all these conditions, it can get the title of haute cuisine restaurant. It is awarded by various restaurant guides. The most popular and authoritative of these is the Michelin Red Guide.
A brief look back in history
There are several theories of the origin of haute cuisine. According to one of them, the monks of the Middle Ages were at the origins of this culinary trend. They loved a well-prepared table and often delighted themselves with various delicacies and refined dishes.
Another version insists that haute cuisine was born at the French royal court in the 18th century. The aristocracy entertained itself by trying to come up with a non-boring meal and organize an unusual meal. Thus began the exquisite dishes that were prepared from expensive French and no less expensive overseas products.
However paradoxical it may sound, but finally the principles of French haute cuisine were formed after the overthrow of the aristocracy, but in imitation of it. In the nineteenth century, the rapidly enriched third class tried to adopt the habits of the royal court in manners, in art, and, of course, in food. The fashion for refined and nontrivial dishes was quickly picked up by great French chefs such as Antonin Karem, Jean-Anselme Briand-Savarin and Georges Auguste Escoffier. They are considered to be the progenitors of true haute cuisine.
French Style in Cooking
Although today the term “haute cuisine” does not belong to any particular country, it is considered to be the homeland of France. According to historians, this country has had the greatest influence on the formation of gastronomic art as such. And here are the principles of modern haute cuisine:
- Emphasis on the natural taste of food. Cooking technology is aimed at emphasizing the natural taste of the dish, at a harmonious combination of its components
- Strictness in the choice of products. This is a cuisine made up of delicacies that are rarely used in everyday life. There is no need to talk about the quality of products: they must be incredibly fresh, the best of all possible
- A minimum of hot spices. Only sweet peppers may be used in raw form. Ingredients such as garlic and onions must be heat-treated before being added to the dish.
- No heavy sauces. If sauce is present, it is only as a spectacular touch, emphasizing the taste of the main ingredient. And no pungent-smelling herbs!
- Exquisite decoration. The presentation of a dish is as important as its taste. Huge portions and large containers are alien to haute cuisine.
- Rare wines. Only elite wines can be a worthy companion to fine dining. As a rule, these are collectible varieties with many years of aging
Only those chefs who graduated from the elite French school Le Cordon Bleu, founded in 1885, are considered to be true masters of haute cuisine. It is not hard to guess that its graduates are not that numerous. And these are true geniuses of the culinary arts. It is an honor for any gourmet to join their creativity!