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Auguste Escoffier's Impact on French Cuisine and Cooking Methods

Question:

August Escoffier (1846-1935) was known as "the king of chefs and the chef of kings. Discuss his relevance in the Context of his Influence on Restauranters and Gourmets in the Global Environment today.

The report looks to take into account the influence of famous French Chef, Auguste Escoffier on the current generation restaurateurs and gourmets. Auguste’s popularity was reflected on how he had updated the traditional French cooking methods. The simplification which he had brought about in French foods has changed the way people nowadays look into cooks, the way they cook foods and food in general (Beghetto, Kaufman and Hatcher 2016). Most important contribution of Auguste was his influence behind the creation of McDonald’s. Through this report, a superior understanding of the theme would be presented as to exactly how the famous French Chef managed to influence the modern generation. Then, a superior critical thinking would help in analyzing the impact that he had created on the restaurateur and also reflect on his achievements and creativity; he had brought forth in cooking (Cleave 2015). This would be followed by convincing, insightful and creative arguments to present a clear picture on the level of contribution he had on the present generation cooks by stressing on the importance of taste.

Evidence of superior understanding of the theme

The main theme of the report is to create an understanding of kind of influence that Auguste Escoffier has had on the restauranters and gourmets in the global environment today. Escoffier was regarded as the master of chefs and he had simplified the French cuisine to a great extent, had his hand in co-creating Ritz Hotel chain and also went on to write some classic cookbooks like “Le Guide Culinaire” and “Ma Cuisine”. All these contributed to a significant extent and finally went on to change the way people look into the art of cooking and food forever. The recipes, approaches and techniques to kitchen management, used by Escoffier are still being adopted by chefs and restaurants, not only in France but all around the world (Danaher 2013). His main contributions were simplifying classical cuisine and the classical menu and get the kitchens reorganized. The process which had got started from the time of Escoffier, is still being implemented in modern conditions and tastes. The king of chefs had refined old recipes to depend less on the usage of spices and more on the original flavors of foods (Frings 2012). The recipes prepared during the time of Escoffier, under his influence, mainly stressed on using the freshest of ingredients, the locally made seasonal ingredients and also simplified the preparation, which could allow for flexibility which has gone on from time to time.

The Brigade System and Simplification of Classical Cuisine

The evidence of his influence on modern restauranters and gourmets can be established from the fact that, the practice which was followed nearly 100 years back, have stayed with the modern day chefs as well. The way Escoffier had done away with the system, where all the foods came out in the same time and replaced them with the delivery in certain courses, is getting followed by restaurants all around the world (Hamilton 2015). The art of preserving food items and vegetables through the usage of cans were developed during those times. Escoffier firmly believed in the importance which storage had while giving the desired services in restaurants. He became the army chef in the year 1870 and that’s what made him implement the hierarchial system of army and throught of implementing the same in kitchens to allow chefs to gain more efficiency, thus reducing duplication of efforts and identity specific staff functions. The modern generation of chefs call this concept, the Brigade System due to the chain of command, which needs to be followed through the implementation of this practice.

Superior critical thinking, reflection and creativity

Critical Thinking

The main mission of Escoffier was to simplify the culinary activities and narrow down cooking to some core recipes and techniques performed in an efficient manner. He was the man behind the concept of codifying recipes to stock and started using them in almost everything. The iconic book ‘Le Guide Culinaire (1903)’ is being considered a sacred text by chefs of this modern generation. The influence is not just confined to France but the innovative methods implemented by Escoffier, have had a great influence on restaurants and gourmets all across the world (Lavelle 2015). The recipes of Escoffier were enough proof of the fact that just because preparations got simplified, didn’t mean they lacked the features to make them tasteless or mild. Jonah Lehrer, through his book, explained how the simplified technique of making any gravy or sauce by adding liquid to the cooking juices and food particles had actually become the secret of success for Escoffier. This deglazing generally happens when piece of meat has been cooked under very hot temperatures, so as to form a delicious caramelized crust, which then gets removed and left to rest, leaving aside burnt residues in the bottom of the pan (Mamane 2017). This is the point when Escoffier’s, one of perfectly made stocks, gets added and the burnt pieces of residue, that had remained in the bottom of the pan, gets dissolved into a sauce, giving out a significantly rich depth of flavor. Modern cooks, nowadays use this technique as an essential staple, when they require to prepare any gravy.

Influence on Modern Restauranters and Gourmets

Reflection

Escoffier maintained that keeping sufficient stock carries a lot of importance in the world of cooking, without which he always felt that nothing else could be done. The amount of stock kept before going ahead to cook items would always make the main work of cooking a lot easier task. In a similar manner, if the food items kept were not of satisfactory level or mediocre to some extent, then nobody can expect things to turn out to become a satisfactory meal (Mora 2012). The fact that women could dine in public places nowadays, a lot of credit goes to Auguste Escoffier. Nowadays modern restaurants where anybody can order food as opposed to taverns and inns, which serviced on a daily basis began during the 18th century in France. The concept did not fair well as people did not feel they could have their food anywhere else other than home.

Creativity

Auguste Escoffier’s creativity lied not only in preparation of foods but also in the creation of veal stock. When the veal stock gets mixed with foods, the stock imparts monosodium glutamate, which helps to increase flavours and ultimate lead towards making food items even more delicious (Petruzzelli and Savino 2014). In the kitchen, which he managed, no anger of shouting was allowed . He made sure to make his staff drink a special malt brew which used to keep them hydrated and well mannered. Escoffer’s “brigade system” ensured that there was no chaos. Where the old system went ahead with chefs cooking everything, henceforth going with the next order, the brigade system followed by Escoffer, made sure that there were stations of different food items meat, fish, sauce, vegetables and many more, with the plates moving from one station to another. This is being followed by restaurants all over nowadays as the practice allows for systematic management of kitchen and their staff (Poole 2014). 

Convincing, insightful and creative arguments

Auguste Escoffier was a renowned chef during his times, more than 100 years ago, even got recognition as the ‘Master of Chefs’. He had a unique way of making different kinds of preparation, with taste of any dish getting the maximum priority.

Some of the convincing, insightful and creative arguments in favor of the theme, ‘the relevance of Auguste Escoffier’s influence on restauranters and gourmets in today’s global environment’ are brought forward. The Master of Chefs, Escoffier always put his focus on canning different food items for better storage, still lives on years after he had passed away. He has had his influence on modern cooking across all regions and travelled far and wide (Stierand 2015). Escoffier was the first cook to commercially can tomatoes. Nowadays, another prevalent thing is the gravy, which gets filled with different kinds of food items like mushrooms and bouillon. These innovations were brought up by the master chef himself, when he used to work as a consultant. The a-la-carte style that is prevalent nowadays, was started off by Escoffier during those times.


Restaurants do tend to add monosodium glutamate to enhance tastes in their dishes. This was originally invented by Auguste Escoffier, through his creation of veal stock. When that got mixed with foods, a natural monosodium glutamate was formed, which had gone on to enhance the natural flavors which existed and that creation was named by Escoffier, as deliciousness (Tebben 2014). This was a major contribution of the master chef, which is still in use among restauranters and gourmet dish makers across the world.

Conclusion

The report concludes that Master Chef Escoffier had a major role to play in influencing the modern restauranters and gourmets. The way he had revolutionized the cooking methods through innovative strategies and creating new dishes, has gone on to make huge impact on the modern chefs. The positive influence of dining in a-la-carte style, which got introduced by Escoffier, has made a huge impact on the dining style of modern generation cooks. The concept of kitchen management which was introduced by the master chef has helped to synchronize the way in which chefs work in kitchens. The systematic manner in which operations take place in restaurants, along with the preservation of foods through cans, has made the concept popular among modern day generation cooks.

References

Beghetto, R.A., Kaufman, J.C. and Hatcher, R., 2016. Applying Creativity Research to Cooking. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 50(3), pp.171-177.

Cleave, P., 2015. Culinary heritage, nostalgia, and food history. The Routledge Handbook of Sustainable Food and Gastronomy, p.34.

Danaher, P., 2013. From Escoffier to Adria: Tracking Culinary Textbooks at the Dublin Institute of Technology 1941–2013. M/C Journal, 16(3).

Frings, M., 2012. Pioneers in Fine-Dining–The Development of Haute Cuisine.

Hamilton, J.N., 2015. Barbecue Beurre Blanc: A Study of French Cuisine as it Interacts with the Memphis Foodscape.

Lavelle, C., 2015. Delicious Biophysics: Cooking as a Prolific Support to Teach Biophysical Concepts. Biophysical Journal, 108(2), pp.333a-334a.

Mamane, R., 2017. Mastering Stocks and Broths: A Comprehensive Culinary Approach Using Traditional Techniques and No-Waste Methods. Chelsea Green Publishing.

Mora, J., 2012. An Examination of Modernist Culinary Techniques and Equipment and their Application in Catering Operations.

Petruzzelli, A.M. and Savino, T., 2014. Search, recombination, and innovation: Lessons from haute cuisine. Long Range Planning, 47(4), pp.224-238.

Poole, B., 2014. French taste: Food and national identity in post-colonial France. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Stierand, M., 2015. Developing creativity in practice: Explorations with world-renowned chefs. Management Learning, 46(5), pp.598-617.

Tebben, M., 2014. Sauces: A Global History. Reaktion Books.

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