Dean Anthony Gratton
Où est la cuisine Française?
Apparently, the French do it better – that’s food by the way!
I don’t believe it! If you’re an avid viewer of MasterChef, you will often hear Michele Roux spout endlessly about the French ‘classiques’. It seems many chefs have been trained with the classics in mind, but more and more contestants reveal that they are self-taught, which can prove to be liberating in terms of their methodology and ultimately their careers. Yes, admittedly there are indeed French classics, methods and techniques – all of which have spawned some amazing recipes and dishes. Yet, as the title of this article intimates, where the hell is it nowadays? I have spent a lot of time in France and am bewildered by the lack of imagination with French cuisine in the areas I have visited.
It doesn’t seem to exist – I will go as far as suggesting it’s nothing more than a myth. I have spent time in Paris, of course, Brittany and the south west of France. It’s essentially “meat and two veg” – yes, hearty food at its best, but so, so dull. In fact, I spent a few days in London last week and was amazed by the diversity of cuisine that’s on offer to the British. I overheard a conversation between a couple of men on a plane heading to the UK, discussing how French food was dull and that returning home to the UK was akin to being a child in a toy shop, spoilt for culinary choice! No longer can Europe complain of British food, the variety is amazing and our taste buds are regularly challenged.
To sum it up, I think the rest of the world has taken the French classic methods, techniques and whatnot, and applied new world thinking to tweak or improve them. The world of cuisine has moved on, while much of France still relies on the pre-revolution classics derived during a monarchy that the nation ultimately killed off!
The French, alas, are still ‘eating cake’!