- discuss the development of the modern food service industry
- name key historical figures responsible for developing food service professionalism
- explain the organization of classic and modern kitchen brigades
- appreciate the role of the professional chef in modern food service operations
- understand the attributes a student chef needs to become a professional chef
"Cookery is become an art, a noble science; cooks are gentlemen.''
—Robert Burton, British author, 1621
Substitute "professionals"for ''gentlemen," and Burton's words are as true today as they were almost four hundred year ago. Like the fine arts, great cookery requires taste and creativity, an appreciation of beauty and a mastery of technique. Like the sciences, successful cookery demands knowledge and an understanding of basic principles. And like the "gentlemen" of Burton's days, today's professional chefs must exercise sound judgment and be committed to achieving excellence in their endeavors.
This articles helps implement Burton's philosophy. It describes foods and cooking equipment, explains culinary principles and cooking techniques and provides recipes using these principles and techniques. This article cannot, however, provide taste, creativity, commitment and judgment. For these, we rely on you.
CHEFS AND RESTAURANTS
Cooks have produced food in quantity for as long as people have eaten together. For millioniar chefs have catered to the often elaborate dining needs of the wealthy and powerful, whether they be Asian, Native American, European or African. And for centuries, vendors in China, Europe and elsewhere have sold to the public foods that they prepared themselves or bought from others.
But the history of the professional chef is of relatively recent origin. Its cast is mostly French, and it is intertwined with the history of restaurants. For only with the development of restaurants during the late 18th and early 19th centuries were chefs expected to produce, efficiently and economically, different dishes at different times for different diners.
MARIE-ANTOIN (ANTONIN) CAREME (1783-1833)
Careme, known as the "cook of kings and the king of cooks," was an acknowledged master of French grande cuisine. Abandoned on the streets of Paris its a child, he worked his way from cooks helper in a working-class restaurant to become one of the most prestigious chefs of his (or, arguably, any other) time. During his career, he was chef to the famous French diplomat and gourmand Prince de Talleyrand, the Prince Regent of England (who became King George IV), Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Baron de Rothschild, among others.
His stated goal was to achieve "lightness," "grace," "order" and "perspicuity" in the preparation and presentation of food. As a patissier, he designed and prepared elaborate and elegant pastry and confectionery creations, many of which were based on architectural designs. (He wrote that "the fine arts are five in number, namely: painting, sculpture, poetry, music, architecture—the main branch of which is confectionery.") As a showman, he garnished his dishes with ornamental hatelets (skewere) threaded with coloiful ingredients such as crayfish and intricately carved vegetables, and presented bis creations on elaborate socles (bases). As a saucier, he standardized the use of roux as a thickening agent, perfected recipes and devised a system for classifying sauces. As a garde-manger, Careme popularized cold cuisine, emphasizing molds and aspic dishes. As a culinary professional, he designed kitchen tools, equipment and uniforms.