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The Foodish Boy on Chef Duty in Iceland

The Foodish Boy on Chef Duty in Iceland

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June 21, 2013 is a day I'll never forget. Having spent two days working lunch shifts, I stepped into my chef whites for the first time to cook a dinner service for a fully booked Dill Restaurant.

I really don't like to make life easy for myself. My first time in a professional kitchen and I’m here to help lead a seven-course tasting menu at Iceland's leading restaurant? Heart pounding, hands shaking, butterflies in my stomach, I hadn't felt this nervous since my first piano exam.

Check out The Foodish Boy Chef on Duty in Iceland Slideshow!

"Lexi, table four. Four snacks. Go!" Chef Gunnar calls the first order for the snack and amuse-bouche. Deep breath. Here we go... snack ready. "Service," I announce as I send out my first ever dish in a professional kitchen. I've never felt so alive. The buzz and adrenaline are incredible.

Steadily the tables started to fill up and the pace quickened rapidly. Dill has an open kitchen and diners can keep a watchful eye on your every step. "Lexi, always keep good posture and cook with energy and grace." Certainly an aspect I never considered when cooking at home (unless I'm trying to impress a woman, of course).

Snacks complete, it was time to take down the station and move onto the main substance of the menu. Plating up the first course of rutabaga, cheese foam, sweet and sour dill sauce, and crispy millet, I was still struggling to fathom how such responsibility had been given to someone with no kitchen experience beyond two days training. I had to pinch myself... yes, it was really happening.

The next few hours flew by in a daze of color and heat. I became so engrossed in the orders I sometimes lost all sense of my surroundings. "Lexi, when I say something you respond yes. If we were in France you'd have to answer 'oui chef' because the French will be French." Chef Arnar jokingly made sure I maintained good communication in the midst of chaos.

Before I knew it, the first five courses were complete and only the puddings remained. Relieved to get away from the hot stove, it was time for some fun with the liquid nitrogen.

At the end of a grueling 14-hour shift I sat down for an ice-cold beer with Gunnar, Arnar, and head waiter Tumi. As I gazed at the early-morning light on the longest day of the year, I struggled to take in what an incredible experience this had been. It really was a midsummer night's dream.

The Foodish Boy is 25-year-old Alex Nazaruk from the U.K. Follow his journey working a different food-based job every week for a year at, Facebook, or tweet him @foodishboy.

Crepes with Caramelized Pineapple and Coconut Dulce de Leche

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Eating Off Duty with Brian Jupiter

We explore where and what celebrated chefs eat outside their kitchens.

"As a kid, I would always help [my grandmother] cook mirliton squash, also known as chayote, which we would stuff with squash and shrimp. We'd boil it, add shrimp then bake it. Being in the kitchen with my grandmother is really what inspired me most on wanting to pursue a career as a chef," chef Brian Jupiter says.

Jupiter has always believed that Southern comfort food is a true art form. Born and raised in New Orleans, his mother was a florist and his father works in computer systems. He has two brothers and a sister. He was influenced by his grandmother's cooking growing up and knew he wanted to be a chef.

Dooky Chase Restaurant in New Orleans by Creole chef Leah Chase was one of Jupiter’s culinary inspiration.

"Leah Chase executed all the New Orleans staples flawlessly. Fried chicken, gumbo, red beans—she stayed true to what real New Orleans food is and she did it well. When I go [to Dooky Chase], I try to get a little bit of everything and it makes me feel right at home,” Jupiter says.

To Jupiter, southern comfort food is a wide range of food that people in the South cook and consider to be staples specifically for their family. "Of course, people think of fried chicken, greens, and mac & cheese as comfort food—and they aren't wrong—but Southern comfort food is more specific to the person making and eating it."

He started his cooking career as a line cook at New Orleans’s famed Aurora Steakhouse and moved to Miami to attend Johnson & Wales University for culinary school when he was 18 years old.

"Living in Miami definitely influenced my cooking style. Miami is full of so many different cultures, so you get a little bit of everything and a lot of cool flavors from places like Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba. One of our first menus at (his future restaurant) Frontier had pikliz (spicy pickled Haitian vegetable relish) and turtle fritters. I like to draw inspiration wherever I can, and Miami has no shortage of inspiring cultures, flavors, and dishes."

From Miami, Jupiter headed to Chicago at 22 years old when he got a job at Narcisse Champagne and Caviar Salon as chef de cuisine, and eventually, executive chef. This was his first restaurant in role as executive chef and he took this opportunity to thoughtfully develop his own style through the menu.

"Being so young when I took on the job gave me the confidence to move on and to be an executive chef at other restaurants, ultimately leading me to open my own restaurant and heading up the kitchen there," Jupiter shares.

He had a leading role in the menu development for the opening of Frontier with business partner Mark Domitrovich in 2010. After opening Frontier, Domitrovich and Jupiter would take trips to New Orleans together. Jupiter would show Domitrovich the corner stores and mom-and-pop restaurants that he grew up going to.

"Mark fell in love with the 'anything goes' spirit and vibe of New Orleans, and for years we knew we wanted to open a concept like this, but it meant we needed the right space and it had to be the right time. We needed a space that felt authentic to those same corner stores we visited, so we could serve food that was authentic to New Orleans,” Jupiter says.

That time came during the summer of 2018, when he opened Ina Mae Tavern with Domitrovich, named in honor of Jupiter’s great-grandmother, Ina, who passed down the recipes he learned to cook with his grandmother. The food at Ina Mae is inspired by his background, growing up, and cooking in New Orleans. Located in Wicker Park, Chicago, the tavern is known for Jupiter’s New Orleans-style Southern comfort food: po’boys, beignets, gumbo and more. Their boiled and fried seafood towers are two of their most popular dishes.

"Chicagoans are very receptive to Southern food, open to dining at Ina Mae, and even trying our alligator sausage.This isn’t a city that you have to tone down what you want to do for people to accept it. The goal was to bring the flavors of the South to Chicago and that's what we've done.”

Ina Mae Tavern received MICHELIN Bib Gourmand status in the Chicago 2020 selection, which Jupiter says pushes Southern food closer to the recognition it deserves with other types of cuisine.

"Southern food is so much more than just fried chicken, but those cooking techniques and flavors that are used to create that kind of dish properly is something you see in other cuisines as well. Southern food has always been thought of as a greasy spoon food or has a sloppy connotation to it, but all the techniques, flavor influences, and ingredients are a lot more vast than that. The more Southern food people eat, the more they will see and taste that."

Jupiter is focusing on Ina Mae Tavern and Frontier for now, but has his sights set on opening more restaurants. "Nothing is in the works right now, but something in the future is a definite goal."

What was the last thing you ate?
Sushi tacos from En Hakkore 2.0, a restaurant right around the corner from Ina Mae and Frontier. The "Crunch and Fire" taco is my favorite it has shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, jalapeño, avocado.

It's your day off. What do you have for breakfast and where?
I like savory breakfast dishes so probably steak and eggs from a diner. Not one in particular, but I love a good diner breakfast.

Controversial question: Do you believe in brunch?
Yes, I love brunch. Especially for restaurants, you need a mix of breakfast and lunch items, because not everyone likes breakfast or eggs, and it gives everyone an option to find something they like. It gives guests a balance. Right now, I would definitely go to Virtue for brunch. Chef Erick Williams's menu is great. I love the green tomatoes and shrimp, and the brioche and ham.

What is your 2:00 a.m. go-to food?
Dancen, a super casual Korean place. My go-to order is fire chicken with rice balls.

What is your local coffee shop and what do you order?
Gallery Cafe. I order a cortado and potato flour donut.

Where do you go when you travel to your favorite city?
When I'm in New York, I have to go to Maison Premiere. I'd order anything on special that night, but their clam chowder is really good.

What is the "laziest" meal you put together for yourself this past week?
I threw together a grilled cheese the other day with wheat bread, Swiss, and pastrami.

What is your favorite snack food?
I love chocolate covered almonds. They taste good and seem semi-healthy—until you've eaten a whole bag.

What do you eat when you want to treat yourself?
A good, greasy cheeseburger. I'd probably get one from Red Hot Ranch. I like that they are thin, crispy patties. It almost gives the beef a crunch to the edges.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Fazzoletti, Sweet Onion Soubise, Mango Lassi, Kurkuri Bhindi

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Porcini Fazzoletti
That's Italian for "mushroom handkerchiefs" a kind of simple sheet pasta flavored with mushroom powder. I had this dish a week or so back when we were in South Carolina for Sally's niece's wedding in Greenville, where we ate dinner one evening at a place called The Lazy Goat. Mine came with a "Spring Onion Soubise" sauce (see below) and crispy cubes of Guanciale, a kind of thick-cut pork jowl bacon, and dusted with black sesame seeds. Served with minimal sauce, Italian style, not drowned in sauce American style.

So this is my first attempt at home-made pasta in probably twenty years. Without a pasta machine.

The dough is simple, almost no knead. For two servings of about 15 handkerchiefs each:

1 cup AP flour or half cake flour/half AP
2 Eggs
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Porcini or Mushroom Powder

Put things in your food processor (minus the egg shells!) and pulse a few times until the dough balls up and runs around the bowl. Remove the dough to a floured surface and add (by kneading) enough more flour so it's no longer a sticky wad. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge about 30 minutes.

Bring a big pot of water almost to a rolling boil and let it continue heating while you roll out the handkerchiefs. Divide the dough in half, and on a floured surface roll out one of the halves long, narrow and thin. Mine came out about 4" x 12" x less than 1/8" thick. The thinner you can roll it out, the better. This is where a pasta machine would come in handy. But hey, Rolling pins were invented first! Just make sure your fazzoletti are realllly thin.

Use a pizza cutter or table knife to cut the dough into squares about 2x2, not more than 3x3. Lay them on a floured sheet of parchment paper while you roll and cut the rest of the dough. Combine the scraps roll them out and cut again.

Slide a few handkerchiefs at a time into the hard boiling water (don't crowd them the way be do other pastas) and boil them for 3-6 minutes until tender-to-al dente. Drain cooked pasta and rest on a plate until the cooking is complete. If you have a large spider or slotted spoon, you can re-heat cooled pasta with a quick dunk in boiling water before serving.

When served here at home I dressed the cooked pasta with a couple tablespoons of basil pesto and some toasted pine nuts. That's Italian!

Kabocha With Sweet Onion Soubise

Documented first in 1836, soubise is a stewed onion cream sauce that tastes almost nothing like onion! It is an excellent accompaniment for any meat dish, and quite a few pasta and vegetable dishes. I first had Soubise on the Porcini Fazzoletti at the Lazy Goat, where it was finished with fresh pureed herbs to give it a bright green color. You can also finish it with a bit of curry or paprika flavored tomato puree as I did below. The amounts of butter and dairy you use will determine how rich your sauce comes out -- from cloyingly rich to delicate.

Sweet Onions -- spring onions, Vidalia, Maui, Walla Walla or generic Sweet, not Spanish
Cream or Half & Half or Whole Milk
Finish -- tomato puree, pureed herbs, or powdered "base" such as vegetable or chicken

For my dish I used two large Vidalia sweet onions, a couple tablespoons of butter, half a cup of Whole Milk, a couple tablespoons of tomato paste, and a 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder for a hint of India.

Slice the onion(s) and cook them -- roasted or pan-sweated but not browned, stewed, even microwave them (as I did) as if you were going to make French Onion Soup.

You want the cooked onions to be falling-apart soft and finely translucent, with no hint of brown. Stir in "some" butter with the hot onions until it's melted. Transfer to your food processor and puree. Add dairy (or even non-dairy 'milk') to get a gravy/sauce consistency.

Kabocha Squash
Kabocha Squash, in Japan, is called 'pumpkin'. Sweeter than Acorn or Butternut and with an edible green skin, it's an excellent vegetarian main dish or main ingredient when stuffed with flavored rice, served in stir fries, soups, or casseroles.

Kurkuri Bhindi
I admit, I detest boiled okra. This Indian crispy-fried okra, on the other hand, is to die for! We first had this at the Chai Pani Indian Street Food restaurant in downtown Asheville, NC, 8 or 9 years ago, and it has become a ritual for us to to indulge every time we fly into/out of Asheville.

Of course I came home that first time and started working up a copycat version. The secret ingredients are Amchur Powder, an Indian ingredient which is simply dried, powdered Green Mango (very tart and tasty) a bit of Lime Salt or pinch of salt and lime juice applied to the cooking okra. I get my Amchur powder from the nearest Indian grocery for a couple bucks and it lasts a lonnnng time.

For this recipe you need a flat griddle pan or large diameter thick bottomed skillet.

1 lb fresh Okra
Oil for cooking
1-3 Tbsp Amchur Powder
1-2 tsp Salt and Lemon Juice, or Lime Salt -- for a no/low salt alternative use Mrs Dash Caribbean Citrus Seasoning tm

Cut the tops off and split the pods in half or quarters lengthwise. Heat a bit of oil in your pan and fry them, turning frequently, with several additions of Amchur and salt.

Fry until seriously browned, even blackened and serve hot and wonderful!

Lime Salt? 1 cup of plain salt and fine zest of one lime mixed together. Spread it on a parchment-lined baking sheet at bake at 250F (yes, that low) for about an hour. Cool and store in a jar.

Mango Lassi
Lassi not Lassie! Lassi is one of several Indian yogurt-based drinks similar to a milkshake or smoothie. Thawed frozen mango from last year's harvest (or fresh from this year) is combined with yogurt and milk -- in our case, Icelandic Skyr and almond-based unsweetened creamer -- with a bit of fine fresh ground cardamon or nutmeg for accent. Take it all for a spin in your blender for a perfect summer dessert.

The sad, nostalgic truth of Anthony Bourdain's final episode

When the last episode of Parts Unknown finally aired, it was equally bittersweet and surprising. It featured a retrospective Anthony Bourdain going back to his own stomping grounds in the Lower East Side of New York City, a place that was — in his formative years — run by the punk rockers, the artists, and the drug dealers. It was the seedy underbelly of the city, and as he pointed out the street corners where he bought drugs and the alleys no one dared to go down, it provided a poignant glimpse into his psyche.

Esquire says the episode explained a lot about Bourdain, including how music — particularly punk rock — influenced the way he spoke, wrote, and thought. They describe the episode as featuring him more as a character than an observer, saying (via Quartz) that he knew the dope houses "by order of preference," and when he spoke of the bond shared by the people who lived and grew up there during the 1970s, he said, "cheap rents brought a lot of people together." It's a surprisingly intimate look at not just the area, but his life, and everyone agrees: it's a fitting farewell.


Middle Ages Edit

In French medieval cuisine, banquets were common among the aristocracy. Multiple courses would be prepared, but served in a style called service en confusion, or all at once. Food was generally eaten by hand, meats being sliced off in large pieces held between the thumb and two fingers. The sauces were highly seasoned and thick, and heavily flavored mustards were used.

Pies were a common banquet item, with the crust serving primarily as a container, rather than as food itself, and it was not until the very end of the Late Middle Ages that the shortcrust pie was developed.

Meals often ended with an issue de table, which later changed into the modern dessert, and typically consisted of dragées (in the Middle Ages, meaning spiced lumps of hardened sugar or honey), aged cheese and spiced wine, such as hypocras. [4] : 1–7

The ingredients of the time varied greatly according to the seasons and the church calendar, and many items were preserved with salt, spices, honey, and other preservatives. Late spring, summer, and autumn afforded abundance, while winter meals were more sparse. Livestock were slaughtered at the beginning of winter. Beef was often salted, while pork was salted and smoked. Bacon and sausages would be smoked in the chimney, while the tongue and hams were brined and dried. Cucumbers were brined as well, while greens would be packed in jars with salt. Fruits, nuts and root vegetables would be boiled in honey for preservation. Whale, dolphin and porpoise were considered fish, so during Lent, the salted meats of these sea mammals were eaten. [4] : 9–12

Artificial freshwater ponds (often called stews) held carp, pike, tench, bream, eel, and other fish. Poultry was kept in special yards, with pigeon and squab being reserved for the elite. Game was highly prized, but very rare, and included venison, wild boar, hare, rabbit, and birds.

Kitchen gardens provided herbs, including some, such as tansy, rue, pennyroyal, and hyssop, which are rarely used today. Spices were treasured and very expensive at that time—they included pepper, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and mace. Some spices used then, but no longer today in French cuisine are cubebs, long pepper (both from vines similar to black pepper), grains of paradise, and galengale.

Sweet-sour flavors were commonly added to dishes with vinegars and verjus combined with sugar (for the affluent) or honey. A common form of food preparation was to finely cook, pound and strain mixtures into fine pastes and mushes, something believed to be beneficial to make use of nutrients. [4] : 13–15

Visual display was prized. Brilliant colors were obtained by the addition of, for example, juices from spinach and the green part of leeks. Yellow came from saffron or egg yolk, while red came from sunflower, and purple came from Crozophora tinctoria or Heliotropium europaeum.

Gold and silver leaf were placed on food surfaces and brushed with egg whites. Elaborate and showy dishes were the result, such as tourte parmerienne which was a pastry dish made to look like a castle with chicken-drumstick turrets coated with gold leaf. One of the grandest showpieces of the time was roast swan or peacock sewn back into its skin with feathers intact, the feet and beak being gilded. Since both birds are stringy, and taste unpleasant, the skin and feathers could be kept and filled with the cooked, minced and seasoned flesh of tastier birds, like goose or chicken. [4] : 15–16

The most well known French chef of the Middle Ages was Guillaume Tirel, also known as Taillevent. Taillevent worked in numerous royal kitchens during the 14th century. His first position was as a kitchen boy in 1326. He was chef to Philip VI, then the Dauphin who was son of John II. The Dauphin became King Charles V of France in 1364, with Taillevent as his chief cook. His career spanned sixty-six years, and upon his death he was buried in grand style between his two wives. His tombstone represents him in armor, holding a shield with three cooking pots, marmites, on it. [4] : 18–21

Ancien Régime Edit

Paris was the central hub of culture and economic activity, and as such, the most highly skilled culinary craftsmen were to be found there. Markets in Paris such as Les Halles, la Mégisserie, those found along Rue Mouffetard, and similar smaller versions in other cities were very important to the distribution of food. Those that gave French produce its characteristic identity were regulated by the guild system, which developed in the Middle Ages. In Paris, the guilds were regulated by city government as well as by the French crown. A guild restricted those in a given branch of the culinary industry to operate only within that field. [4] : 71–72

There were two groups of guilds—first, those that supplied the raw materials: butchers, fishmongers, grain merchants, and gardeners. The second group were those that supplied prepared foods: bakers, pastry cooks, sauce makers, poulterers, and caterers. There were also guilds that offered both raw materials and prepared food, such as the charcutiers and rôtisseurs (purveyors of roasted meat dishes). They would supply cooked meat pies and dishes as well as raw meat and poultry. This caused issues with butchers and poulterers, who sold the same raw materials. [4] : 72–73

The guilds served as a training ground for those within the industry. The degrees of assistant cook, full-fledged cook and master chef were conferred. Those who reached the level of master chef were of considerable rank in their individual industry, and enjoyed a high level of income as well as economic and job security. At times, those in the royal kitchens did fall under the guild hierarchy, but it was necessary to find them a parallel appointment based on their skills after leaving the service of the royal kitchens. This was not uncommon as the Paris cooks' guild regulations allowed for this movement. [4] : 73

During the 16th and 17th centuries, French cuisine assimilated many new food items from the New World. Although they were slow to be adopted, records of banquets show Catherine de' Medici (1519–1589?) serving sixty-six turkeys at one dinner. [4] : 81 The dish called cassoulet has its roots in the New World discovery of haricot beans, which are central to the dish's creation, but had not existed outside of the Americas until the arrival of Europeans. [4] : 85

Haute cuisine (pronounced [ot kɥizin] , "high cuisine") has foundations during the 17th century with a chef named La Varenne. As author of works such as Le Cuisinier françois, he is credited with publishing the first true French cookbook. His book includes the earliest known reference to roux using pork fat. The book contained two sections, one for meat days, and one for fasting. His recipes marked a change from the style of cookery known in the Middle Ages, to new techniques aimed at creating somewhat lighter dishes, and more modest presentations of pies as individual pastries and turnovers. La Varenne also published a book on pastry in 1667 entitled Le Parfait confitvrier (republished as Le Confiturier françois) which similarly updated and codified the emerging haute cuisine standards for desserts and pastries. [4] : 114–120

Chef François Massialot wrote Le Cuisinier roïal et bourgeois in 1691, during the reign of Louis XIV. The book contains menus served to the royal courts in 1690. Massialot worked mostly as a freelance cook, and was not employed by any particular household. Massialot and many other royal cooks received special privileges by association with the French royalty. They were not subject to the regulation of the guilds therefore, they could cater weddings and banquets without restriction. His book is the first to list recipes alphabetically, perhaps a forerunner of the first culinary dictionary. It is in this book that a marinade is first seen in print, with one type for poultry and feathered game, while a second is for fish and shellfish. No quantities are listed in the recipes, which suggests that Massialot was writing for trained cooks. [4] : 149–154

The successive updates of Le Cuisinier roïal et bourgeois include important refinements such as adding a glass of wine to fish stock. Definitions were also added to the 1703 edition. The 1712 edition, retitled Le Nouveau cuisinier royal et bourgeois, was increased to two volumes, and was written in a more elaborate style with extensive explanations of technique. Additional smaller preparations are included in this edition as well, leading to lighter preparations, and adding a third course to the meal. Ragout, a stew still central to French cookery, makes its first appearance as a single dish in this edition as well prior to that, it was listed as a garnish. [4] : 155

Late 18th century – early 19th century Edit

Shortly before the French Revolution, dishes like bouchées à la Reine gained prominence. Essentially royal cuisine produced by the royal household, this is a chicken-based recipe served on vol-au-vent created under the influence of Queen Marie Leszczyńska, the Polish-born wife of Louis XV. This recipe is still popular today, as are other recipes from Queen Marie Leszczyńska like consommé à la Reine and filet d'aloyau braisé à la royale. Queen Marie is also credited with introducing lentils to the French diet and Polonaise garnishing.

The French Revolution was integral to the expansion of French cuisine, because it abolished the guild system. This meant anyone could now produce and sell any culinary item they wished.

Bread was a significant food source among peasants and the working class in the late 18th century, with many of the nation's people being dependent on it. In French provinces, bread was often consumed three times a day by the people of France. [5] According to Brace, bread was referred to as the basic dietary item for the masses, and it was also used as a foundation for soup. In fact, bread was so important that harvest, interruption of commerce by wars, heavy flour exploration, and prices and supply were all watched and controlled by the French Government. Among the underprivileged, constant fear of famine was always prevalent. From 1725 to 1789, there were fourteen years of bad yields to blame for low grain supply. In Bordeaux, during 1708–1789, thirty-three bad harvests occurred. [5]

Marie-Antoine Carême was born in 1784, five years before the Revolution. He spent his younger years working at a pâtisserie until he was discovered by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, who would later cook for Napoleon Bonaparte. Prior to his employment with Talleyrand, Carême had become known for his pièces montées, which were extravagant constructions of pastry and sugar architecture. [6] : 144–145

More important to Carême's career was his contribution to the refinement of French cuisine. The basis for his style of cooking was his sauces, which he named mother sauces. Often referred to as fonds, meaning "foundations", these base sauces, espagnole, velouté, and béchamel, are still known today. Each of these sauces was made in large quantities in his kitchen, then formed the basis of multiple derivatives. Carême had over one hundred sauces in his repertoire.

In his writings, soufflés appear for the first time. Although many of his preparations today seem extravagant, he simplified and codified an even more complex cuisine that existed beforehand. Central to his codification of the cuisine were Le Maître d'hôtel français (1822), Le Cuisinier parisien (1828) and L'Art de la cuisine française au dix-neuvième siècle (1833–5). [6] : 144–148

Late 19th century – early 20th century Edit

Georges Auguste Escoffier is commonly acknowledged as the central figure to the modernization of haute cuisine and organizing what would become the national cuisine of France. His influence began with the rise of some of the great hotels in Europe and America during the 1880s-1890s. The Savoy Hotel managed by César Ritz was an early hotel in which Escoffier worked, but much of his influence came during his management of the kitchens in the Carlton from 1898 until 1921. He created a system of "parties" called the brigade system, which separated the professional kitchen into five separate stations.

These five stations included the garde manger that prepared cold dishes the entremettier prepared starches and vegetables, the rôtisseur prepared roasts, grilled and fried dishes the saucier prepared sauces and soups and the pâtissier prepared all pastry and desserts items.

This system meant that instead of one person preparing a dish on one's own, now multiple cooks would prepare the different components for the dish. An example used is oeufs au plat Meyerbeer, the prior system would take up to fifteen minutes to prepare the dish, while in the new system, the eggs would be prepared by the entremettier, kidney grilled by the rôtisseur, truffle sauce made by the saucier and thus the dish could be prepared in a shorter time and served quickly in the popular restaurants. [6] : 157–159

Escoffier also simplified and organized the modern menu and structure of the meal. He published a series of articles in professional journals which outlined the sequence, and he finally published his Livre des menus in 1912. This type of service embraced the service à la russe (serving meals in separate courses on individual plates), which Félix Urbain Dubois had made popular in the 1860s. Escoffier's largest contribution was the publication of Le Guide Culinaire in 1903, which established the fundamentals of French cookery. The book was a collaboration with Philéas Gilbert, E. Fetu, A. Suzanne, B. Reboul, Ch. Dietrich, A. Caillat and others. The significance of this is to illustrate the universal acceptance by multiple high-profile chefs to this new style of cooking. [6] : 159–160

Le Guide Culinaire deemphasized the use of heavy sauces and leaned toward lighter fumets, which are the essence of flavor taken from fish, meat and vegetables. This style of cooking looked to create garnishes and sauces whose function is to add to the flavor of the dish, rather than mask flavors like the heavy sauces and ornate garnishes of the past. Escoffier took inspiration for his work from personal recipes in addition to recipes from Carême, Dubois and ideas from Taillevent's Le Viandier, which had a modern version published in 1897. A second source for recipes came from existing peasant dishes that were translated into the refined techniques of haute cuisine.

Expensive ingredients would replace the common ingredients, making the dishes much less humble. The third source of recipes was Escoffier himself, who invented many new dishes, such as pêche Melba. [6] : 160–162 Escoffier updated Le Guide Culinaire four times during his lifetime, noting in the foreword to the book's first edition that even with its 5,000 recipes, the book should not be considered an "exhaustive" text, and that even if it were at the point when he wrote the book, "it would no longer be so tomorrow, because progress marches on each day." [7]

This period is also marked by the appearance of the nouvelle cuisine. The term "nouvelle cuisine" has been used many times in the history of French cuisine which emphasized the freshness, lightness and clarity of flavor and inspired by new movements in world cuisine. In the 1740s, Menon first used the term, but the cooking of Vincent La Chapelle and François Marin was also considered modern. In the 1960s, Henri Gault and Christian Millau revived it to describe the cooking of Paul Bocuse, Jean and Pierre Troisgros, Michel Guérard, Roger Vergé and Raymond Oliver. [8] These chefs were working toward rebelling against the "orthodoxy" of Escoffier's cuisine. Some of the chefs were students of Fernand Point at the Pyramide in Vienne, and had left to open their own restaurants. Gault and Millau "discovered the formula" contained in ten characteristics of this new style of cooking. [6] : 163–164

The first characteristic was a rejection of excessive complication in cooking. Second, the cooking times for most fish, seafood, game birds, veal, green vegetables and pâtés was greatly reduced in an attempt to preserve the natural flavors. Steaming was an important trend from this characteristic. The third characteristic was that the cuisine was made with the freshest possible ingredients. Fourth, large menus were abandoned in favor of shorter menus. Fifth, strong marinades for meat and game ceased to be used. Sixth, they stopped using heavy sauces such as espagnole and béchamel thickened with flour based "roux" in favor of seasoning their dishes with fresh herbs, quality butter, lemon juice, and vinegar. Seventh, they used regional dishes for inspiration instead of haute cuisine dishes. Eighth, new techniques were embraced and modern equipment was often used Bocuse even used microwave ovens. Ninth, the chefs paid close attention to the dietary needs of their guests through their dishes. Tenth, and finally, the chefs were extremely inventive and created new combinations and pairings. [6] : 163–164

Some have speculated that a contributor to nouvelle cuisine was World War II when animal protein was in short supply during the German occupation. [9] By the mid-1980s food writers stated that the style of cuisine had reached exhaustion and many chefs began returning to the haute cuisine style of cooking, although much of the lighter presentations and new techniques remained. [6] : 163–164

There are many dishes that are considered part of French national cuisine today.

A meal often consists of three courses, hors d'œuvre or entrée (introductory course, sometimes soup), plat principal (main course), fromage (cheese course) or dessert, sometimes with a salad offered before the cheese or dessert.

Bisque is a smooth and creamy French potage.

Foie gras with mustard seeds and green onions in duck jus

Steak frites is a simple and popular dish.

French regional cuisine is characterized by its extreme diversity and style. Traditionally, each region of France has its own distinctive cuisine. [10]

Paris and Île-de-France Edit

Paris and Île-de-France are central regions where almost anything from the country is available, as all train lines meet in the city. Over 9,000 restaurants exist in Paris and almost any cuisine can be obtained here. High-quality Michelin Guide-rated restaurants proliferate here. [11]

Champagne, Lorraine, and Alsace Edit

Game and ham are popular in Champagne, as well as the special sparkling wine simply known as Champagne. Fine fruit preserves are known from Lorraine as well as the quiche Lorraine. [12] Alsace is influenced by the German cuisine, especially the one from the Palatinate and Baden region. As such, beers made in the area are similar to the style of bordering Germany. Dishes like choucroute (French for sauerkraut) are also popular. [11] : 55 Many "Eaux de vie" (distilled alcohol from fruit) also called schnaps are from this region, due to a wide variety of local fruits (cherry, raspberry, pear, grapes) and especially prunes (mirabelle, plum).[9]:259,295 [ clarification needed ]

Nord Pas-de-Calais, Picardy, Normandy, and Brittany Edit

The coastline supplies many crustaceans, sea bass, monkfish and herring. Normandy has top-quality seafood, such as scallops and sole, while Brittany has a supply of lobster, crayfish and mussels.

Normandy is home to a large population of apple trees apples are often used in dishes, as well as cider and Calvados. The northern areas of this region, especially Nord, grow ample amounts of wheat, sugar beets and chicory. Thick stews are found often in these northern areas as well.

The produce of these northern regions is also considered some of the best in the country, including cauliflower and artichokes. Buckwheat grows widely in Brittany as well and is used in the region's galettes, called jalet, which is where this dish originated. [11] : 93

Camembert, cheese specialty from Normandy

Crêpe and Cider, specialty from Brittany

Loire Valley and central France Edit

High-quality fruits come from the Loire Valley and central France, including cherries grown for the liqueur Guignolet and Belle Angevine pears. The strawberries and melons are also of high quality.

Fish are seen in the cuisine, often served with a beurre blanc sauce, as well as wild game, lamb, calves, Charolais cattle, Géline fowl, and goat cheeses.

Young vegetables are used often, as are the specialty mushrooms of the region, champignons de Paris. Vinegars from Orléans are a specialty ingredient used as well. [11] : 129, 132

Burgundy and Franche-Comté Edit

Burgundy and Franche-Comté are known for their wines. Pike, perch, river crabs, snails, game, redcurrants, blackcurrants are from both Burgundy and Franche-Comté.

Amongst savorous specialties accounted in the Cuisine franc-comtoise from the Franche-Comté region are Croûte aux morilles [fr] , Poulet à la Comtoise [fr] , trout, smoked meats and cheeses such as Mont d'Or, Comté and Morbier which are best eaten hot or cold, the exquisite Coq au vin jaune [fr] and the special dessert gâteau de ménage [fr] .

Charolais beef, poultry from Bresse, sea snail, honey cake, Chaource and Epoisses cheese are specialties of the local cuisine of Burgundy. Dijon mustard is also a specialty of Burgundy cuisine. Crème de cassis is a popular liquor made from the blackcurrants. Oils are used in the cooking here, types include nut oils and rapeseed oil. [11] : 153,156,166,185

Escargots, with special tongs and fork

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Edit

The area covers the old province of Dauphiné, once known as the "larder" of France, [ dubious – discuss ] that gave its name to gratin dauphinois, [13] traditionally made in a large baking dish rubbed with garlic. Successive layers of potatoes, salt, pepper and milk are piled up to the top of the dish. It is then baked in the oven at low temperature for 2 hours. [14]

Fruit and young vegetables are popular in the cuisine from the Rhône valley, as are great wines like Hermitage AOC, Crozes-Hermitage AOC and Condrieu AOC. Walnuts and walnut products and oil from Noix de Grenoble AOC, lowland cheeses, like St. Marcellin, St. Félicien and Bleu du Vercors-Sassenage.

Poultry from Bresse, guinea fowl from Drôme and fish from the Dombes, a light yeast-based cake, called Pogne de Romans and the regional speciality, Raviole du Dauphiné, and there is the short-crust "Suisse", a Valence biscuit speciality.

Lakes and mountain streams in Rhône-Alpes are key to the cuisine as well. Lyon and Savoy supply sausages while the Alpine regions supply their specialty cheeses like Beaufort, Abondance, Reblochon, Tomme and Vacherin. [ citation needed ]

Mères lyonnaises are female restaurateurs particular to this region who provide local gourmet establishments. [15] Celebrated chefs from this region include Fernand Point, Paul Bocuse, the Troisgros brothers and Alain Chapel. [16]

The Chartreuse Mountains are the source of the green and yellow Digestif liquor, Chartreuse produced by the monks of the Grande Chartreuse. [11] : 197,230

Since the 2014 administrative reform, the ancient area of Auvergne is now part of the region. One of its leading chefs is Regis Marcon.

Noix de Grenoble, unusual trilaterally symmetric walnut

Poitou-Charentes and Limousin Edit

High-quality produce comes from the region's hinterland, especially goat cheese. This region and in the Vendée is grazing ground for Parthenaise cattle, while poultry is raised in Challans.

The region of Poitou-Charentes purportedly produces the best butter and cream in France. Cognac is also made in the region along the Charente River.

Limousin is home to the Limousin cattle, as well as sheep. The woodlands offer game and mushrooms. The southern area around Brive draws its cooking influence from Périgord and Auvergne to produce a robust cuisine. [11] : 237

Bordeaux, Périgord, Gascony, and Basque country Edit

Bordeaux is known for its wine, with certain areas offering specialty grapes for wine-making. Fishing is popular in the region for the cuisine, sea fishing in the Bay of Biscay, trapping in the Garonne and stream fishing in the Pyrenees.

The Pyrenees also has lamb, such as the Agneau de Pauillac, as well as sheep cheeses. Beef cattle in the region include the Blonde d'Aquitaine, Boeuf de Chalosse, Boeuf Gras de Bazas, and Garonnaise.

Free-range chicken, turkey, pigeon, capon, goose and duck prevail in the region as well. Gascony and Périgord cuisines includes pâtés, terrines, confits and magrets. This is one of the regions notable for its production of foie gras, or fattened goose or duck liver.

The cuisine of the region is often heavy and farm based. Armagnac is also from this region, as are prunes from Agen. [11] : 259,295

A terrine of foie gras with a bottle of Sauternes

Toulouse, Quercy, and Aveyron Edit

Gers, a department of France, is within this region and has poultry, while La Montagne Noire and Lacaune area offer hams and dry sausages.

White corn is planted heavily in the area both for use in fattening ducks and geese for foie gras and for the production of millas, a cornmeal porridge. Haricot beans are also grown in this area, which are central to the dish cassoulet.

The finest sausage in France is saucisse de Toulouse, which also part of cassoulet of Toulouse. The Cahors area produces a specialty "black wine" as well as truffles and mushrooms.

This region also produces milk-fed lamb. Unpasteurized ewe's milk is used to produce Roquefort in Aveyron, while in Laguiole is producing unpasteurized cow's milk cheese. Salers cattle produce milk for cheese, as well as beef and veal products.

The volcanic soils create flinty cheeses and superb lentils. Mineral waters are produced in high volume in this region as well. [11] : 313 Cabécou cheese is from Rocamadour, a medieval settlement erected directly on a cliff, in the rich countryside of Causses du Quercy.

This area is one of the region's oldest milk producers it has chalky soil, marked by history and human activity, and is favourable for the raising of goats.

Roussillon, Languedoc, and Cévennes Edit

Restaurants are popular in the area known as Le Midi. Oysters come from the Étang de Thau, to be served in the restaurants of Bouzigues, Mèze, and Sète. Mussels are commonly seen here in addition to fish specialties of Sète, bourride, tielles and rouille de seiche.

In the Languedoc jambon cru, sometimes known as jambon de montagne is produced. High quality Roquefort comes from the brebis (sheep) on the Larzac plateau.

The Les Cévennes area offers mushrooms, chestnuts, berries, honey, lamb, game, sausages, pâtés and goat cheeses. Catalan influence can be seen in the cuisine here with dishes like brandade made from a purée of dried cod wrapped in mangold leaves. Snails are plentiful and are prepared in a specific Catalan style known as a cargolade. Wild boar can be found in the more mountainous regions of the Midi. [11] : 349,360

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Edit

The Provence and Côte d'Azur region is rich in quality citrus, vegetables, fruits and herbs the region is one of the largest suppliers of all these ingredients in France. The region also produces the largest amount of olives, and creates superb olive oil. Lavender is used in many dishes found in Haute Provence. Other important herbs in the cuisine include thyme, sage, rosemary, basil, savory, fennel, marjoram, tarragon, oregano, and bay leaf. [17] Honey is a prized ingredient in the region.

Seafood is widely available throughout the coastal area and is heavily represented in the cuisine. Goat cheeses, air-dried sausages, lamb, beef, and chicken are popular here. Garlic and anchovies are used in many of the region's sauces, as in Poulet Provençal, which uses white wine, tomatoes, herbs, and sometimes anchovies, and Pastis is found everywhere that alcohol is served.

The cuisine uses a large amount of vegetables for lighter preparations. Truffles are commonly seen in Provence during the winter. Thirteen desserts in Provence are the traditional Christmas dessert, [18] e.g. quince cheese, biscuits, almonds, nougat, apple, and fougasse.

Rice is grown in the Camargue, which is the northernmost rice growing area in Europe, with Camargue red rice being a specialty. [11] : 387,403,404,410,416 Anibal Camous, a Marseillais who lived to be 104, maintained that it was by eating garlic daily that he kept his "youth" and brilliance. When his eighty-year-old son died, the father mourned: "I always told him he wouldn't live long, poor boy. He ate too little garlic!" (cited by chef Philippe Gion)

Corsica Edit

Goats and sheep proliferate on the island of Corsica, and lamb are used to prepare dishes such as stufato, ragouts and roasts. Cheeses are also produced, with brocciu being the most popular.

Chestnuts, growing in the Castagniccia forest, are used to produce flour, which is used in turn to make bread, cakes and polenta. The forest provides acorns used to feed the pigs and boars that provide much of the protein for the island's cuisine. Fresh fish and seafood are common.

The island's pork is used to make fine hams, sausage and other unique items including coppa (dried rib cut), lonzu (dried pork fillet), figatellu (smoked and dried liverwurst), salumu (a dried sausage), salcietta, Panzetta, bacon, and prisuttu (farmer's ham).

Clementines (which hold an AOC designation), lemons, nectarines and figs are grown there. Candied citron is used in nougats, while and the aforementioned brocciu and chestnuts are also used in desserts.

Corsica offers a variety of wines and fruit liqueurs, including Cap Corse, Patrimonio, Cédratine, Bonapartine, liqueur de myrte, vins de fruit, Rappu, and eau-de-vie de châtaigne. [11] : 435,441,442

French Guiana Edit

French Guianan cuisine or Guianan cuisine is a blend of the different cultures that have settled in French Guiana. Creole and Chinese restaurants are common in major cities such as Cayenne, Kourou and Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni. Many indigenous animal species such as caiman and tapir are used in spiced stews.

French cuisine varies according to the season. In summer, salads and fruit dishes are popular because they are refreshing and produce is inexpensive and abundant. Greengrocers prefer to sell their fruits and vegetables at lower prices if needed, rather than see them rot in the heat. At the end of summer, mushrooms become plentiful and appear in stews throughout France. The hunting season begins in September and runs through February. Game of all kinds is eaten, often in elaborate dishes that celebrate the success of the hunt. Shellfish are at their peak when winter turns to spring, and oysters appear in restaurants in large quantities.

With the advent of deep-freeze and the air-conditioned hypermarché, these seasonal variations are less marked than hitherto, but they are still observed, in some cases due to legal restrictions. Crayfish, for example, have a short season and it is illegal to catch them out of season. [19] Moreover, they do not freeze well.

French regional cuisines use locally grown vegetables, such as pomme de terre (potato), blé (wheat), haricots verts (a type of French green bean), carotte (carrot), poireau (leek), navet (turnip), aubergine (eggplant), courgette (zucchini), and échalotte (shallot).

French regional cuisines use locally grown fungi, such as truffe (truffle), champignon de Paris (button mushroom), chanterelle ou girolle (chanterelle), pleurote (en huître) (oyster mushrooms), and cèpes (porcini).

Varieties of meat consumed include poulet (chicken), pigeon (squab), canard (duck), oie (goose, the source of foie gras), bœuf (beef), veau (veal), porc (pork), agneau (lamb), mouton (mutton), caille (quail), cheval (horse), grenouille (frog), and escargot (snails). Commonly consumed fish and seafood include cod, canned sardines, fresh sardines, canned tuna, fresh tuna, salmon, trout, mussels, herring, oysters, shrimp and calamari.

Eggs are fine quality and often eaten as: omelettes, hard-boiled with mayonnaise, scrambled plain, scrambled haute cuisine preparation, œuf à la coque.

Fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as fish and meat, can be purchased either from supermarkets or specialty shops. Street markets are held on certain days in most localities some towns have a more permanent covered market enclosing food shops, especially meat and fish retailers. These have better shelter than the periodic street markets.

Breakfast Edit

Le petit déjeuner (breakfast) is traditionally a quick meal consisting of tartines (slices) of French bread with butter and honey or jam (sometimes brioche), along with café au lait (also called café crème), or black coffee, or tea [20] and rarely hot chicory. Children often drink hot chocolate in bowls or cups along with their breakfasts. Croissants, pain aux raisins or pain au chocolat (also named chocolatine in the south-west of France) are mostly included as a weekend treat. Breakfast of some kind is always served in cafés opening early in the day.

There are also savoury dishes for breakfast. An example is le petit déjeuner gaulois or petit déjeuner fermier with the famous long narrow bread slices topped with soft white cheese or boiled ham, called mouillettes, [21] which is dipped in a soft-boiled egg and some fruit juice and hot drink.

Another variation called le petit déjeuner chasseur, meant to be very hearty, is served with pâté and other charcuterie products. A more classy version is called le petit déjeuner du voyageur, where delicatessens serve gizzard, bacon, salmon, omelet, or croque-monsieur, with or without soft-boiled egg and always with the traditional coffee/tea/chocolate along fruits or fruit juice. When the egg is cooked sunny-side over the croque-monsieur, it is called a croque-madame.

In Germinal and other novels, Émile Zola also reported the briquet: two long bread slices stuffed with butter, cheese and or ham. It can be eaten as a standing/walking breakfast, or meant as a "second" one before lunch.

In the movie Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis, Philippe Abrams (Kad Merad) and Antoine Bailleul (Dany Boon) share together countless breakfasts consisting of tartines de Maroilles (a rather strong cheese) along with their hot chicory.

Lunch Edit

Le déjeuner (lunch) is a two-hour mid-day meal or a one-hour lunch break. In some smaller towns and in the south of France, the two-hour lunch may still be customary. Sunday lunches are often longer and are taken with the family. [22] Restaurants normally open for lunch at noon and close at 2:30 pm. Some restaurants are closed on Monday during lunch hours. [23]

In large cities, a majority of working people and students eat their lunch at a corporate or school cafeteria, which normally serves complete meals as described above it is not usual for students to bring their own lunch to eat. For companies that do not operate a cafeteria, it is mandatory for white-collar workers to be given lunch vouchers as part of their employee benefits. These can be used in most restaurants, supermarkets and traiteurs however, workers having lunch in this way typically do not eat all three courses of a traditional lunch due to price and time constraints. In smaller cities and towns, some working people leave their workplaces to return home for lunch. Also, an alternative, especially among blue-collar workers, is eating sandwiches followed by a dessert both dishes can be found ready-made at bakeries and supermarkets at budget prices.

Dinner Edit

Le dîner (dinner) often consists of three courses, hors d'œuvre or entrée (appetizers or introductory course, sometimes soup), plat principal (main course), and a cheese course or dessert, sometimes with a salad offered before the cheese or dessert. Yogurt may replace the cheese course, while a simple dessert would be fresh fruit. The meal is often accompanied by bread, wine and mineral water. Most of the time the bread would be a baguette which is very common in France and is made almost every day. Main meat courses are often served with vegetables, along with potatoes, rice or pasta. [22] : 82 Restaurants often open at 7:30 pm for dinner, and stop taking orders between the hours of 10:00 pm and 11:00 pm. Some restaurants close for dinner on Sundays. [23] : 342

In French cuisine, beverages that precede a meal are called apéritifs (literally: "that opens the appetite"), and can be served with amuse-bouches (literally: "mouth amuser"). Those that end it are called digestifs.

The apéritif varies from region to region: Pastis is popular in the south of France, Crémant d'Alsace in the eastern region. Champagne can also be served. Kir, also called Blanc-cassis, is a common and popular apéritif-cocktail made with a measure of crème de cassis (blackcurrant liqueur) topped up with white wine. The phrase Kir Royal is used when white wine is replaced with a Champagne wine. A simple glass of red wine, such as Beaujolais nouveau, can also be presented as an apéritif, accompanied by amuse-bouches. Some apéritifs can be fortified wines with added herbs, such as cinchona, gentian and vermouth. Trade names that sell well include Suze (the classic gentiane), Byrrh, Dubonnet, and Noilly Prat.

Digestifs are traditionally stronger, and include Cognac, Armagnac, Calvados, Eau de vie and fruit alcohols.

A typical French Christmas dish is turkey with chestnuts. Other common dishes are smoked salmon, oysters, caviar and foie gras. The Yule log is a very French tradition during Christmas. Chocolate and cakes also occupy a prominent place for Christmas in France. This cuisine is normally accompanied by Champagne. Tradition says that thirteen desserts complete the Christmas meal in reference to the twelve apostles and Christ. [24] [25] [26] [27]

History Edit

The modern restaurant has its origins in French culture. Prior to the late 18th century, diners who wished to "dine out" would visit their local guild member's kitchen and have their meal prepared for them. However, guild members were limited to producing whatever their guild registry delegated to them. [28] : 8–10 These guild members offered food in their own homes to steady clientele that appeared day-to-day but at set times. The guest would be offered the meal table d'hôte, which is a meal offered at a set price with very little choice of dishes, sometimes none at all. [28] : 30–31

The first steps toward the modern restaurant were locations that offered restorative bouillons, or restaurants—these words being the origin of the name "restaurant". This step took place during the 1760s–1770s. These locations were open at all times of the day, featuring ornate tableware and reasonable prices. These locations were meant more as meal replacements for those who had "lost their appetites and suffered from jaded palates and weak chests." [28] : 34–35

In 1782 Antoine Beauvilliers, pastry chef to the future Louis XVIII, opened one of the most popular restaurants of the time—the Grande Taverne de Londres—in the arcades of the Palais-Royal. Other restaurants were opened by chefs of the time who were leaving the failing monarchy of France, in the period leading up to the French Revolution. It was these restaurants that expanded upon the limited menus of decades prior, and led to the full restaurants that were completely legalized with the advent of the French Revolution and abolition of the guilds. This and the substantial discretionary income of the French Directory's nouveau riche helped keep these new restaurants in business. [28] : 140–144

English French Description
Restaurant More than 5,000 in Paris alone, with varying levels of prices and menus. Open at certain times of the day, and normally closed one day of the week. Patrons select items from a printed menu. Some offer regional menus, while others offer a modern styled menu. Waiters and waitresses are trained and knowledgeable professionals. By law, a prix-fixe menu must be offered, although high-class restaurants may try to conceal the fact. Few French restaurants cater to vegetarians. The Guide Michelin rates many of the better restaurants in this category. [11] : 30
Bistro(t) Often smaller than a restaurant and many times using chalk board or verbal menus. Wait staff may well be untrained. Many feature a regional cuisine. Notable dishes include coq au vin, pot-au-feu, confit de canard, calves' liver and entrecôte. [11] : 30
Bistrot à Vin Similar to cabarets or tavernes of the past in France. Some offer inexpensive alcoholic drinks, while others take pride in offering a full range of vintage AOC wines. The foods in some are simple, including sausages, ham and cheese, while others offer dishes similar to what can be found in a bistro. [11] : 30
Bouchon Found in Lyon, they produce traditional Lyonnaise cuisine, such as sausages, duck pâté or roast pork. The dishes can be quite fatty, and heavily oriented around meat. There are about twenty officially certified traditional bouchons, but a larger number of establishments describing themselves using the term. [29]
Brewery Brasserie These establishments were created in the 1870s by refugees from Alsace-Lorraine. These establishments serve beer, but most serve wines from Alsace such as Riesling, Sylvaner, and Gewürztraminer. The most popular dishes are choucroute and seafood dishes. [11] : 30 In general, a brasserie is open all day every day, offering the same menu. [30]
Café Primarily locations for coffee and alcoholic drinks. Additional tables and chairs are usually set outside, and prices are usually higher for service at these tables. The limited foods sometimes offered include croque-monsieur, salads, moules-frites (mussels and pommes frites) when in season. Cafés often open early in the morning and shut down around nine at night. [11] : 30
Salon de Thé These locations are more similar to cafés in the rest of the world. These tearooms often offer a selection of cakes and do not offer alcoholic drinks. Many offer simple snacks, salads, and sandwiches. Teas, hot chocolate, and chocolat à l'ancienne (a popular chocolate drink) are offered as well. These locations often open just prior to noon for lunch and then close late afternoon. [11] : 30
Bar Based on the American style, many were built at the beginning of the 20th century (particularly around World War I, when young American expatriates were quite common in France, particularly Paris). These locations serve cocktails, whiskey, pastis and other alcoholic drinks. [11] : 30
Estaminet Typical of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, these small bars/restaurants used to be a central place for farmers, mine or textile workers to meet and socialize, sometimes the bars would be in a grocery store. [31] Customers could order basic regional dishes, play boules, or use the bar as a meeting place for clubs. [32] These estaminets almost disappeared, but are now considered a part of Nord-Pas-de-Calais history, and therefore preserved and promoted.

Restaurant staff Edit

Larger restaurants and hotels in France employ extensive staff and are commonly referred to as either the kitchen brigade for the kitchen staff or dining room brigade system for the dining room staff. This system was created by Georges Auguste Escoffier. This structured team system delegates responsibilities to different individuals who specialize in certain tasks. The following is a list of positions held both in the kitchen and dining rooms brigades in France: [11] : 32

Commissario Guido Brunetti Mysteries by Donna Leon

Set in against the breathtaking backdrop of Venice, Donna Leon's bestselling mystery novels starring Commissario Guido Brunetti, a devoted man of the law who will stop at nothing to get truth and justice. More than just murder mysteries, Leon's novels are richly detailed, drawing off of everyday life in this breathtaking floating city to create an picturesque setting where corruption and violence lies just beneath the surface. Pick up just one of these 26 novels, and in no time, you'll find yourself binge-reading the entire series.

Partake of the Palmetto State: What to Eat in South Carolina

Dig into the seafood, sips, sweets and savories that make South Carolina one of the most food-forward destinations in the country.

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Photo By: Stephen Stinson/FishEye Studios

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Peaches and Beyond

Being at the heart of all things Southern, South Carolina is a hub of regional flavors and tastes. From boiled peanuts to pimento cheese, and with a little BBQ, collards, and sweet tea thrown in for good measure, the Palmetto State is filled with signature dishes and iconic ingredients. Here are some flavorful favorites.

Illustration by Hello Neighbor Designs


Barbecue, BBQ or Bar-B-Que, no matter how you spell it, &rsquocue in South Carolina is a religion. Whether you go whole hog (Scott&rsquos Bar-B-Que in Hemingway and Rodney Scott&rsquos BBQ in Charleston are king), pork butts (Carolina Bar-B-Que in New Ellenton has been smoking theirs since 1968), ribs (Henry&rsquos Smokehouse in Greenville and Simpsonville slow-roasts their St. Louis-style sticks for six hours), or an all-you-can-eat buffet with a wide variety, you can find them all on the South Carolina Barbecue Trail. And don&rsquot even start on the tomato, mustard, or vinegar sauce wars.

She-Crab Soup

A rich soup that&rsquos similar to bisque, she-crab soup traditionally blends cream, fresh crabmeat, red-orange roe from the female crab (hence the &lsquoshe-crab&rsquo) and a splash of sherry. It can be found on menus from the Lowcountry to the Upstate. South Carolinian chef Sean Mendes serves up one of the state&rsquos best bowls using his family recipe at James Island&rsquos Roadside Seafood. Another classic version has been a signature dish since the day Soby&rsquos opened their doors in Greenville in 1997. And it&rsquos also a 55-year fave that garners more adoration than any other dish on the menu at the iconic Sea Captain&rsquos House in Myrtle Beach.


There are few more-iconic foods in South Carolina than buttery, scratch-made biscuits. Served sweet or savory, the fall-apart flaky biscuit is nearly ubiquitous. Lizard&rsquos Thicket certainly knows a thing or two about biscuits. Grilled, served with jelly stuffed with egg and meats or smothered with gravy, 38,000 biscuits are served each month at their 15 locations in the Midlands. The biscuits at Callie&rsquos Hot Little Biscuit in Charleston (pictured) have a seriously loyal following with biscuit options including buttermilk cheese and chive country ham black pepper-bacon and blackberry. Can&rsquot decide? Try a biscuit sampler platter with a choice of three varieties or a baker&rsquos dozen package deal.

Boiled Peanuts

Also known as goober peas, boiled peanuts found their way to the Southeast with African slaves in the early 19th century. When peanuts were abundant in the summer, surplus crops were often boiled for preservation. These &ldquoboils&rdquo were enjoyed by friends and neighbors as part of social gatherings and ultimately became a symbol of Southern heritage and cuisine. Boiled in heavily salted water for hours (often with other flavorings), the peanuts become soft and salty, with a texture similar to cooked beans they are often sold still in their easy-to-peel shells or canned. Charleston-native food and travel writers Matt and Ted Lee are the masters of boiled peanuts with their Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, a mail-order cornucopia of canned peanuts, boil-your-own-peanut kits, and other Southern pantry staples.

Deviled Eggs

It&rsquos no mystery that deviled eggs are typically shelled, halved and filled with a mixture made from the yolks, mayonnaise and mustard. That mix is a canvas for creative chefs. Staying true to its devilish name, Bacon Bros. Public House in Greenville starts with the freshest golden-yolk eggs, mixes them with Duke&rsquos (of course), yellow mustard, homemade hot sauce and a touch of apple cider vinegar. Their Devil&rsquos Dust Eggs are then topped with spicy tasso ham, tangy pickled mustard seeds and a sprinkling of Devil&rsquos Dust, a blend of some of the hottest peppers in the world grown and dehydrated in-house.


South Carolina is the nation&rsquos second largest peach producer, behind only California. So, it should come as no surprise that perfectly picked peaches are abundant, used in cobblers, crumbles, and crisps, as well as salsas, soups and salads. If you are looking to create your own peachy creations, pick up perfectly picked peaches at Edgefield County&rsquos Titan Farms, the largest peach grower on the East Coast. Chef Mike Davis at Terra in West Columbia makes the most of the summer peach crop with creations like his peach pork schnitzel. If dessert is more your thing, head to Juniper in Ridge Spring for South Carolina Peach Semifreddo. Served with pecan praline and a caramelized bourbon drizzle, this is a perfectly peachy summertime dish.

Fried Seafood

South Carolinians love a good old-fashioned fish fry, with all sorts of seafood fried to a perfect golden brown and served piping hot with sides and lots of napkins. Located in the oldest building along the Grand Strand, Hot Fish Club in Murrells Inlet&mdashknown as the seafood capital of South Carolina&mdashis a true local joint paying homage to the original 1700s-era Hot and Hot Fish Club social club located on nearby Drunken Jack Island. Nothing screams iconic South Carolina food more than the Hot Fish Platter, loaded with fresh, golden-fried local flounder, shrimp, oysters and crab cakes, sourced from the inlet just steps away, with creamy slaw, a hot baked potato and hushpuppies.

Sweet Tea


Roasting oysters or slurping &lsquoem on the half shell are South Carolina rites. There are literally dozens of oyster hotspots up and down the coast. But Hudson&rsquos Seafood House on the Docks on Hilton Head Island takes oyster eating one step further by leasing the waters within sight of the restaurant to harvest wild single and cluster oysters, as well as cultivate their own single selects. With a shucker on duty daily, the restaurant shucks tasty bivalves to order, serving them with cocktail sauce, horseradish or a champagne-pink peppercorn mignonette. Pair a dozen with the Lowcountry Dirty Martini it swaps out the olive juice for oyster liquor in a glass garnished with splash of salmon roe.


Whether you pronounce them pee-can or peh-kahn, pecans are a great source of protein, fiber and antioxidants, and lend a nutty crunch to foods, from pecan-crusted catfish to pestos and the Southern classic pecan pie. Young Plantations Pecans in Florence is the undisputed pecan king in this neck of the woods, selling raw, roasted, sugar-dusted, praline-coated and chocolate-covered pecans, not to mention brittles, log rolls, pies, gift baskets and more. Their retail store even includes a pecan tasting bar, and a bakery with fresh pecan muffins, cakes and pies, all offered with pecan ice cream from their ice cream counter.


Grits have long been a staple in the South and are made from corn that is ground into a course meal, boiled and served as a breakfast dish or part of a savory dinner, such as shrimp and grits. Geechie Boy Mill in Edisto Island has recaptured a bit of Southern culinary history of stone-milling their heirloom corn on a 1945 restored antique gristmill. The resulting variety of grits&mdashwhite, yellow, Jimmy Red, blue and speckled&mdashare used by chefs throughout the state and sold to home cooks at their farm store and online. They have also started producing their own Carolina Gold rice. Visitors to the farm can watch the milling process, as well as fill up on acres of heirloom vegetables.

Meat 'n Three

The concept of meat &lsquon three is so popular in the South that it could be its own food group. Basically, it&rsquos a restaurant where you choose one meat from a daily selection and three sides from a list that may include up to a dozen options. Perhaps no one does it better than Wade&rsquos Southern Cooking in Spartanburg. With five meat choices daily, an additional four rotating meat specials and more than two dozen sides in rotation, Wade&rsquos could serve diners every day for weeks and never repeat the same meal. It&rsquos all served with a yeast roll or cornbread and tea or coffee. And, bless your heart, don&rsquot forget to save room for one of their homemade desserts.


A staple of Southern cooking, collard greens are ubiquitous in South Carolina, often found accompanying barbecue, meat &lsquon threes, beans, cornbread and so many other dishes. Cooked low and slow the old-fashioned way, with smoked pork neck bones and hocks, brown sugar and Valentina hot sauce, the collards at Old Bull Tavern in Beaufort are found regularly on the menu in their Oysters 843 &mdash local Lady&rsquos Island Oysters topped with collards, cream and Parmesan &mdash as well as seasonally accompanying their grilled pork chop with peach compote and roasted sweet corn polenta.

Okra is not for the faint of heart. With its fuzzy outside, slightly slimy interior and mild eggplant-ish taste, okra is either beloved or reviled. South Carolinians tend to love it, serving it fried or in stews for generations. It&rsquos on many a menu, but the charred okra at Za&rsquos on Devine in Columbia is changing the minds of naysayers by the droves. Split lengthwise, deeply charred on high heat and finished with a hint of sea salt and red pepper flakes, the light, shareable snack minimizes the slime and allows the flavor and texture of fresh okra to shine through.

Pimento Cheese

A childhood classic, beloved picnic food and staple for Southern chefs, pimento cheese has become one of the &lsquoit&rsquo ingredients on menus across the state. Some argue it has lost its way with too many ingredients and too much refinement, but Heidi and Joe Trull at Grits & Groceries in Belton have kept it simple. Their recipe relies on the sharp tang of cheddar, the creaminess of Monterey Jack, the slight spice of roasted red peppers, creamy Duke&rsquos mayo and a touch of grated onion.. Oh yeah, and it&rsquos served on their own grass-fed beef burger with bacon, on buttered Texas toast.

Cornbread (or Corn Muffins)

Known for its unique texture and undeniable aroma, cornbread can be baked or fried and is typically served in cast iron skillets or as muffins. Inn on the Square in Greenwood takes homemade corn muffins up a Southern notch by adding local peaches to create their signature peach corn muffin. With freshly shucked corn, South Carolina-grown peaches, peach liquor, cornmeal and just a touch of honey, these sweet and savory muffins are served warm with each meal and are available for purchase for those who just can&rsquot get their fill.

Blenheim Ginger Ale

What started as a natural springs tonic for stomach ailments in the 1800s has morphed into the oldest continuously operating soda bottler in the world. Today, Blenheim Ginger Ale Company upholds the century-old tradition of making spicy ginger ale the old-fashioned way near iconic South of the Border in Hamer. With the original #5 Not as Hot, the more popular extra spicy and fiery Old #3 Hot, and a waistline-conscious #9 Diet, Blenheim is sold in 12-ounce glass bottles (never in cans or plastic) online and at dozens of retailers across the state. It has become a cult favorite among locals, visitors, spicy food enthusiasts, and celebrities.

Bloody Mary Mix

South Carolinians are fanatical when it comes to tailgating (and day drinking). Whether prepping for a Clemson or USC football game, cooling off after a day on the beach or lake, or celebrating the state&rsquos cuisine at the many food festivals, locals more often than not include bloody Marys in the mix. A perennial favorite is the Charleston-based original Bold & Spicy Charleston Mix, an epic blend of habanero mash, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and spices. Their Fresh & Veggie takes the heat down a notch and keeps it vegetarian. All-natural, they&rsquore practically health food in a glass.

Shrimp & Grits

Undoubtedly one of South Carolina&rsquos most iconic dishes, shrimp and grits, once a budget-friendly Lowcountry staple, has become a menu darling across the state. Starting with sweet, wild-caught South Carolina shrimp, chefs spin the recipe in countless ways. For a classic approach, Lowcountry legend Frank Lee&rsquos version at Slightly North of Broad in Charleston features country ham, sausage and tomatoes smothered over creamy grits. For a more modern take, check out Amy Fortes&rsquo version at Rock Hill&rsquos Flipside Restaurant with andouille, spinach, caramelized onions, smoked tomatoes, charred peppers and just the perfect amount of heat over South Carolina grits, all served in a cast iron pot.

Carolina Gold Rice

Rice was a king crop in South Carolina until the turn of the 20th century, and the predominant strain in its heyday was an Africa-sourced variety that came to be known as Carolina Gold. Today, companies like Anson Mills and Carolina Plantation have resurrected this heirloom long-grain rice, which yields fluffy, individual grains, creamy risotto or sticky stir-fries. Columbia&rsquos Motor Supply Co. Bistro serve Fish Camp Fried Catfish over Carolina Gold Rice Grits. After grinding his rice into bits, Chef Wesley Fulmer cooks it risotto-style, transforming it into creamy and sultry rice grits, the perfect oh-so-Southern bed for catfish topped with an okra-tomato stew.

Sweet Potatoes

Versatile sweet potatoes find their way onto tables and menus candied, fried, baked, roasted, mashed and in casseroles, pies, pancakes and waffles for good reason. They pack a nutritious punch, they&rsquore available almost all year long, and their color brightens any plate. For a slightly different take on South Carolina sweet potatoes, head to Benford Brewing in Lancaster for their Southern Tater Sweet Potato Ale. Made with fresh cut sweet potatoes straight from the farm, marshmallows and a small hint of cinnamon, this &ldquonon-pumpkin&rdquo brew has all the key ingredients of a Southern sweet potato casserole that can be enjoyed all year long.


Chow-chow is part pickled relish, part slaw and part condiment in South Carolina. Tangy, sometimes sweet and sometimes spicy, but always crunchy, South Carolina-style chow chow typically starts with cabbage or green tomato from there, it&rsquos game on. Home cooks use fresh-picked tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, hot peppers, squash, garlic, mustard seed and pretty much anything else they can fit in a canning jar, covering it all in a brine of vinegar, salt and spices. Serving chow-chow alongside beans with cornbread is customary, but South Carolinians use it the way most people use ketchup, putting it on burgers, fried green tomatoes, biscuits, greens and pretty much anything else that begs for tang. At Columbia&rsquos Bourbon, homemade green tomato chow-chow tops their Fried Green, Eggs and Ham with crispy fried green tomatoes, pan-seared mortadella and scrambled eggs on an English muffin.

Duke's Mayonnaise

Founded by Eugenia Duke while feeding allied soldiers at Greenville&rsquos Camp Sevier in 1917, Duke&rsquos Mayonnaise has become the condiment of the South. Many battles have ensued between chefs and home cooks alike on which mayo reigns supreme, but the clear winner in South Carolina is the smooth, creamy, slightly tangy, sugar-free spread with the familiar yellow label. Although only the third-largest brand in the U.S., Duke&rsquos Mayonnaise is used by chefs throughout the state in classic dishes like deviled eggs, pimento cheese, potato salad, chocolate cake and the perennial tomato sandwich.

Frogmore Stew

Frogmore Stew isn&rsquot really a stew at all: It&rsquos a one-pot meal featuring the Lowcountry&rsquos peak summer delicacies. It combines seafood, potato, sausage and corn on the cob, in a boil that&rsquos typically spread out over a newspaper-laden picnic table for communal dining. The recipe apparently originated in the community of Frogmore on St. Helena Island. So, it&rsquos fitting to head to Foolish Frog at the crossroads in Frogmore to enjoy their Frogmore Pot. With local shrimp right out of the ocean off nearby Hunting Island, as well as sweet onion, potato, beef sausage, fresh corn on the cob from Dempsey Farms down the street, and a blend of seasonings, it&rsquos a Southern specialty served at its source.

Benne Wafers

The benne (or sesame) seed has been a staple in the South Carolina Lowcountry foodways for hundreds of years. But as tourism grew in the early 20th century, bakers discovered that the tiny seed made for a delicious souvenir in the form of a benne wafer &mdash a sweet, crunchy, bite-sized flat cookie that represents a true taste of the Lowcountry. Gift shops around the state often carry benne wafers, but if you need a fix between visits, Food for the Southern Soul is your hook-up for Charleston Favorites&trade Benne Wafers (splurge and get the eight-pack). Tasty and versatile, the cookies can be spread with pimento cheese for an appetizer or made into diminutive ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

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Watch the video: A recipe you will die for (February 2023).