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'Le Cuisinier Francois' French cookbook lecture at UCLA

November 06, 2012|By Betty Hallock
  • From "Le Cuisinier Francois," part of a UCLA lecture in the Dept. of French and Francophone Studies.
From "Le Cuisinier Francois," part of a UCLA lecture in the Dept.… (Le Cuisinier Francois )

On Wednesday at noon UCLA professor of French and Francophone Studies Jean-Louis Carron discusses the historical, social, political and cultural context of "Le Cuisinier François (The French Cook)" by Francois Pierre La Varenne. Its 1651 publication and a coinciding culinary revolution are considered to be the birth of modern French (i.e. western) gastronomy.

Burgundian chef La Varenne broke with Italian traditions, which had upended medieval French cookery a century before, abandoning heavy spices of the Middle Ages for fresh herbs, maximizing the flavors of meat, and introducing new vegetables. La Varenne codified a national cuisine in the age of Louis XIV.

He's credited with introducing bisque and bechamel sauce, replacing crumbled bread with roux for sauces and lard with butter, and was first to use terms such as bouqet garni, fonds de cuisine (stocks) and reductions. "Le Cuisinier François" also includes the earliest recipe in print for mille-feuille, and an early version of hollandaise. 

Free and open to the public, no registration required. UCLA, Royce Hall, No. 306, Los Angeles.


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