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Haute cuisine

Haute cuisine

page added on 22 Feb 2011  

The implementation of haute cuisine


This level of cuisine was conducted, in the main and in France and the UK, using a form of culinary manual:

Le Répertoire de la Cuisine


Th. Gringoire and Louis Saulnier a student of Auguste Escoffier, wrote this book (commonly called "Le Répertoire") as a guide to his mentor's cooking and as a shorthand guide to Le Guide Culinaire written by Auguste Escoffier, Phileas Gilbert and Emile Fetu. The recipes are shorthand versions of the recipes found in Le Guide Culinaire  ....quotation continues



The style of Le Répertoire is highly unusual in that the recipes [it is better to call them summaries]  provided are little more than aides-mémoires and assume a great deal of background knowledge. The book does not make any allowances for the novice cook: no quantities are given (a chef is expected to be able to estimate these for himself) and frequent use is made of terms of art which are opaque to those without the necessary background. This is in the same style of Le Guide Culinaire. Le Répertoire was created as a sort of shorthand for those familiar with Escoffier's cooking, so that it could be used as a quick reference. This style of writing gives the large assumption that anyone using this book is familiar with Le Guide Culinaire and has a good amount of culinary knowledge and experience.  Wiki source - explore the links.  The final sentence is as much out of date as haute cuisine.

Le Guide Culinaire is outlined and mention is made of the Repertoire origin of 1914 along with other interesting books here.   

Finding articles on or including the Repertoire proves difficult and that is  one of the reasons I am writing a series of magazine articles based on it.

Garnishes on Stage here 

Martial Mentions on the Menu here  

I refer to the Repertoire as the chef's Bible.

Martial Milestones on the Menu here 

Monarchs on the Menu here 

More Monarchs on the Menu here

This is supported within this website by  
The Royal Table here

An example of the host magazine is here You can read "Martial Mentions  .. "  in context on pages 16 and 17.

Read it there or here. At the foot of p 16, "The Battle of Marengo" starts.  You notice that the Repertoire is not mentioned.  When sauce-chefs [sauciers] are screamed at by the aboyeur  ["barker" literally]    that four customers want Poulet Saute Marengo they won't want to read an article on it.  There would be more screaming if they needed to look it up in the Repertoire.  Thats for the commis  to learn when things are quiet.  [word in italics are here]  More about the kitchen here and here.  There is a chef family tree here. The development of professional cookery is here.

The correct page in the Repertoire for Marengo is here in French.  Engish editions are available.

 The pages are from the Poulet Saute section.  The Marengo entry translates thus:

Saute in oil. Remove the chicken pieces and "deglaze" the pan with white wine, chopped tomato-flesh, rich brown sauce strongly flavoured with tomato and garlic.  Add mushroom-heads and slices of truffle, trussed [not troussered !] crayfish here, and fried eggs.  Heart-shaped fried croutons would have their points dipped in the sauce and then into chopped parsley to coat them.

Now you can stop wondering why haute cuisine was/is expensive.


Other garnishes on these two pages referring to people or events in the series include Josephine and Leopold.  The garnish Parmentier is associated with potatoes as seen here.  The man you meet there ranks as an adviser to royalty or government and will be included in the next article - "Mandarins on the Menu".

In the "In Conclusion" part to Martial Milestones on the Menu I refer to the Repertoire specifically:   

Although sometimes referring to the French menu at times, it was and is international. When the 19th and 20th centuries overlapped by several decades, its evolution encompassed high society Britain, chiefly London. The Repertoire was being written and London had its influence. It was published in Paris but its compilers’ Preface is signed in London. West End chefs, possibly maitres d’hotel and sommeliers were making their suggestions as to content. Escoffier, king of chefs and chef of kings*, certainly created garnishes for early editions. 

* here

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