Long held as the pinnacle of fine dining, French cuisine has experienced a bit of a slump in the past few decades. Dinner-goers’ tastes shifted away from heavy multi-course meals and stuffy dining rooms. However, just as diners sensibilities change so too can this culinary tradition adapt while staying true to its roots. French restaurants are poised for a comeback, this time without the highfalutin accented waiters.
Here’s how chefs are drawing inspiration from this storied cuisine:
Technique is king in French cuisine, perhaps lending to its reputation as finicky cooking (I mean look no further than the stereotypical fussy preparation The Soufflé). But it’s hard to argue with the results that these techniques produce. Chefs across the country are going back to these tried-and-true methods to add depth of flavor to humble ingredients. Confit, consomme, mousses, poaching – all techniques with French roots that are being used across the board in the modern kitchen. Crispy beef confit tacos? Kimchi braised chicken thighs? These are match-ups we never knew we needed until now.
Who knew a generation raised on Lunchables would grow up to become obsessed with charcuterie? People are chowing down on meat and cheese boards in record numbers and as these courses appear on more and more menus consumers are looking for new and exciting preparations. Enter garde manger. In the French brigade system the garde manger is responsible for cold dishes – salads, hors d’œuvres, and the myriad cold meat preparations such as terrines and pâtés that are going mainstream with the rise of the meat and cheese course. The sky is really the limit with these items and chefs can use them to flex their creative muscles and make flavorful accompaniments that consumers might not have looked twice at even a decade ago.
Alright, hear me out. I know on its surface claiming that vegetables belong to French cuisine seems ridiculous because every culture across humanity eats vegetables, right? But combined with those cooking techniques mentioned above, the French have a certain way of elevating lowly vegetables beyond their standard position as side dish. Whether through roasting, braising, or gratinéeing vegetables that most wouldn’t give a second thought are transformed into colorful jewels of flavor. So move over cauliflower and kale, it’s time for parsnips, beets, and turnips to shine reclaim their glory!
À votre santé
Insightful, well-written and keeping my fingers crossed for a come back!!!
I LITERALLY eat variations of charcuterie at least 4 times a week. It’s my favorite snake or light lunch. Recently having traveled to London, charcuterie was my favorite go-to.
PS. The pug photos are the cutest.