Television review Fascinating documentary introduces the world’s first international star chef: Auguste Escoffier, who developed the “kitchen brigade”

Auguste Escoffier (1847–1935) is the father of modern gastronomy.

Already the first a real international star chef, french Georges-Auguste Escoffier (1847–1935), knew how to use publicity.

Escoffier conjured title portions for celebrities who were busy in their restaurants, thus getting the magazines to write about them. Such title dishes are, for example, for the actor who is comfortable in Le Petit Moulin Rouge Sarah Bernhardtille dedicated strawberries floated in curaçao and brandy and soprano Nellie Melban named after the melba peaches.

More deeply than the title portions, Escoffier’s legacy around the world is reflected in the precise design of restaurant kitchens as well as the internal hierarchy of staff. The so-called “kitchen brigade” he developed made it possible to prepare uniform food at a fast, almost conveyor-like pace.

Auguste Escoffier’s influence on contemporary gastronomy opens with a fascinating French documentary made for the cultural channel Arte (2020).

Modern the birth of gastronomy is equal to that of Escoffier. The partially dramatized documentary follows the history of his chef career from the first kitchen wash at the age of 13 to the kitchens of top hotels in Monte Carlo, Paris and London.

An important role in Escoffier’s career was played by the founder of the Swiss hotel chain Ritz-Carlton At the César Ritz. The Ritz-Escoffier duo, which had become a real dynamo, moved from one European city to another, setting up hotels and their luxury restaurants, leaving behind hedonists sighing in delight, an old aristocracy and a rising bourgeoisie with a bottomless desire for entertainment. By far the most interesting part of the documentary is the window it opened to the development of tourism and with it gastronomy in Europe in the 1880s.

Abundant archival films enliven the spirit of the hilarious pre-World War II Belle Époque era.

Recipes and cooking tips the documentary does not provide.

It shows that young Escoffier in particular was not so much interested in cooking but in culinary art.

The Birth of Modern Gastronomy, Theme at 9pm and Arena.

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