Today I’m going to go over another issue in French cuisine- Is French Cuisine losing its stand in the culinary world? French food, which had an international influence in the 20th century, was commonly agreed to be the best food in the world. France, as an imperial power, was exporting its culture around the globe. However, today, French cuisine is now facing a lot of problems that people doubts whether it can still retain a good performer as it could before. In other words, they claim that French cuisine is dead.
For me, this issue is deserved our attention because French cuisine is considered as an art of cooking that is well known within the culinary world for many centuries. The issue that French cuisine is under threat is not just a single problem of maintaining the tradition of a nationality but also the preservation of a featured art of the world.
Imagine a day that everyone ignored French food. No French restaurants could be found on the streets. French food became extincted in this world. The next generation did not even know what foie gras, souffle, escargots…are. People talked about France as a country of fashion, elegance…but not about the famous and exquisite dishes anymore. What would you feel? For me, I would say I will feel a little dead inside.
French cuisine has led the food industry and was described as “a magical art of beautiful presentation and innovative flavors”. It is famous with the tasty wines, rich and buttery fat foie gras, bold and rich blue cheese. Due to the exquisite gourmet, French cuisine is labeled as “haute cuisine” of the 18th century and got many supports from every restaurants-goers. However, when we are going to the 21st century, people started ignoring and not appreciate it anymore. Therefore, I have to say that, French food didn’t die; the culture that supported it killed it.
Everyone surely knows about the traditional cuisine, which has brought French cuisine to a highest level of the culinary world. France has long been a country with a reputation for some of the best food in the world. However, when the “nouvelle” cuisine, which replaced the old styled one, has created; many critics said that it is not a revolution but only a reformation. They also claim that the “nouvelle” cuisine is pulling down the level for French cuisine in the culinary stage.
As I informed in my “Introduction of French Cuisine” blog, French food was commonly agreed to be the best food in the world. France, as an imperial power, was exporting its culture around the globe. As early as the 1960s, a new generation of French chefs has produced simpler, less heavy dishes than the traditional flour-based gravies and overcooked, stodgy ingredients that were known as “nouvelle cuisine”. According to Larousse Gastronomique by Barbara Bibel, nouvelle cuisine is a movement in cookery started in 1972 by two food critics, H. Gault and C. Millau, with the aim of encouraging a simpler and more natural presentation of food. Nouvelle cuisine was not just a change in style; it was a class difference as well. The old cuisine, even in its grandest form, was essentially an elaboration or elevation of home cooking: the so-called cuisine bourgeoise that was the cornerstone of all French cuisine. Its revolution gave rise to nouvelle cuisine, and it was immensely popular until the 1980s. But it has since changed form and many of the earlier excesses have dropped away. Some people say that nouvelle cuisine is dead, but in reality, it is just the use of the phrase that has died out. Its principles have been taken up and woven into other styles of cooking and presentation.
There are essentially two sides of this French cuisine debate. One side is people who support classic French cuisine and believe that “nouvelle” cuisine is killing the real French food. They state that, real French food has died.
The other side is the young generation who keeps trying to improve and revolutionize French food. They believe that classic French food is too prudish and expensive, which is an unnecessary spent force for the restaurant-goers. Representing for this side, we have Le Fooding, a movement begun in 1999, by two young Parisian men, in an effort to revolutionize the way French people think about food. According to the article “Death to the French food snob”, “[Le Fooding] put a premium on food that is new and unconventional and populist. They include pizza and some forms of fast food (like Chipotle)”. Although that Le Fooding and the young generation did a good move on the globalization of food culture in general, however, many people think that they should spend more force on a culturally specific food revolution.
This is a controversial issue because people need to address which is the right way for French cuisine to follow: classic, or innovation. Personally, I do not think that the new cuisine is good and effective, which the reason that has killed the real French food. Yes, for me, the real French food has died. It is hurtful to say that because I never want this cuisine will be down one day. It is true that I love French food but, it does not mean I will blindly support it even when it went bad. For this reason and others alike, I believe that French cuisine should be back to the way it was, classical but still valuable.
Bibel, Barbara. “Larousse Gastronomique: The World’s Greatest Culinary Encyclopedia.” Booklist 106.9/10 (2010): 122. Academic Search Complete. Web. 7 July 2013.