The French have always been known to have a passion for food. It is revered and considered an art form like a fine oil painting, or high fashion. The cuisine itself has evolved through the centuries but the dedication to excellence has never changed.The forefathers of the French way of cooking had kings and queens to please so failure was not an option. This tradition of quality and perfection and attention to detail has not been lost as techniques in the cooking changed. With Haute (high) or later, nouvelle (new) cuisine, the trends in preparation and the ingredients changed but the pursuit of perfection never has.
Nouvelle cuisine isn’t really “new.” It has been around since the mid 1700’s with early French chefs Chapel and Menon and later in the late 1800’s with the famous Auguste Escoffier. With the standards set by royal tastes early in their history the great French chefs of today and the nation itself pride themselves on quality food. The French will typically take a 2 hour meal (and usually wine) break in the middle of the day and as a result the towns do as well. Love, life and food are central parts of their culture.
French cuisine is highlighted by rich sauces(cream,butter,wine) ,fresh ingredients,and artful presentation. Techniques like saute, braising, and flambes were not invented by the French but rather, refined and mastered by them. There are sauces that are classic French cuisine such as Bearnaise, Hollandaise, and Au Jus. There are dishes such as Coqua vin(chicken in red wine), Bouillabaisse(fish soup), and Escargots Bourguignon(snails baked with butter and parsley) and the list goes on and on. This is French cuisine and what makes it so famous is that it is uniquely French and the focus is not just on the ingredients but on the technique and the quality.
Quality of the products used and the whole experience of enjoying a fine meal. Although the classic French cuisine is rooted in discipline and culinary procedures handed down for many years, the younger French trained chefs today are innovative and move the form in new directions. They use the classical French idea of using locally available ingredients and prepare them with the traditional sauces with new twists. This annoys some of the older guard of French chefs that claim it changes the perception of French Cuisine. Others feel that French cuisine itself is a style and an attitude with basic components that cannot be changed. The dynamics of the cuisine itself however demand that it evolve like it has for hundreds of years. One thing for certain is that French cuisine is famous for quality combined with style and it sure tastes good!