Nouvelle cuisine

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A example of nouvelle cuisine presentation
A Jacques Lameloise (a three-star Michelin Guide chef) nouvelle cuisine presentation

Nouvelle cuisine (French, "new cuisine") is an approach to cooking and food presentation in French cuisine. In contrast to the older haute cuisine, nouvelle cuisine has lighter, more delicate dishes, and pretty presentation. It started in Paris in the 1970s, and by the 1980s was seen in London and New York. The movement is now almost worldwide.

The reasons are connected with modern business life, where long two-hour lunches are a thing of the past. Also, customers began to look for lighter food menus. Food critics Henri Gault and his colleagues André Gayot and Christian Millau put out a new restaurant guide, the Gault-Millau, or Le Nouveau Guide.[1][2][3]

Gault and Millau listed ten characteristics of this new style of cooking. They were:[4]

  • Simpler cooking.
  • Cooking times for most fish, seafood, game birds, veal, green vegetables and pâtés were reduced to try to keep the natural flavour.
  • The cuisine was made with the freshest possible ingredients.
  • Large menus were abandoned in favour of shorter menus.
  • Strong marinades for meat and game were not used.
  • Heavy sauces like espagnole and béchamel were dropped. Instead, dishes were seasoned with fresh herbs, high-quality butter, lemon juice, and vinegar.
  • Regional dishes were introduced in place of cuisine classique dishes.
  • New techniques and modern equipment were used; sometimes used microwave ovens.
  • Chefs paid close attention to the dietary needs of their guests.
  • The chefs were inventive, and created new combinations and pairings.[3]

History[change | change source]

Menon, La nouvelle cuisine (1742)

However, the term "nouvelle cuisine" has been used several times in the history of French cuisine.

In the 1730s and 1740s, several French writers emphasized their break with tradition. They called their cooking "modern" or "new". In 1742 Menon introduced the term nouvelle cuisine as the title of the third volume of his Nouveau traité.[5] François Marin worked in the same tradition.

In the 1880s and 1890s, the cooking of Georges Auguste Escoffier was sometimes described as nouvelle cuisine.[3]

References[change | change source]

  1. André Gayot, "Of stars and tripes: the true story of nouvelle cuisine"
  2. "Stormy weather for Bahama Billy's". Monterey County Herald. January 10, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Mennel, Stephan 1996. All manners of food: eating and taste in England and France from the Middle Ages to the present. 2nd ed, Chicago: University of Illinois Press, p163–164. ISBN 978-0-252-06490-6
  4. Gault&Millau, history of the company, see paragraph "Les 10 commandements de la nouvelle cuisine"
  5. Philip Hyman and Mary Hyman 1999. "Printing the kitchen: French cookbooks, 1480–1800". In Jean-Louis Flandrin and Massimo Montanari (eds) Food: a culinary history from antiquity to the present, p398. (translation of Histoire de l'alimentation, 1996) ISBN 0231111541