Dubbed ‘the king of chefs and chef of kings’, in 1903 Auguste Éscoffier wrote the bible of French cuisine, Le Guide Culinaire, in which, as well as his recipes, he set out best practice for chefs and codified the ‘five mother sauces’.
Having started work at the tender age of 12 as an apprentice in his uncle’s restaurant in Nice, his talent was evident from the start. Through his 62-year career, Éscoffier went on to transform the way professional kitchens worked, famously partnering with César Ritz at the Savoy in London in the final years of the 19th century and inventing the Peach Melba in honour of Australian opera star Dame Nellie Melba.
Born in Villeneuve-Loubet, in 1846, during his 88 years on this planet (he died in Monaco in 1935, less than a week after his wife), he revolutionised the culinary world.
Here are some of his most famous quotes about cooking…
- Good food is the foundation of genuine happiness.
- Any sauce whatsoever should be smooth, light (without being liquid), glossy to the eye, and decided in taste. When these conditions are fulfilled, it is always easy to digest, even for tired stomachs.
- The workman mindful of success, therefore, will naturally direct his attention to the faultless preparation of his stock, and in order to achieve this result, he will find it necessary not merely to make use of the freshest and finest goods, but also to exercise the most scrupulous care in their preparation, for, in cooking, care is half the battle.
- The greatest dishes are very simple.
- Soup puts the heart at ease, calms down the violence of hunger, eliminates the tension of the day, and awakens and refines the appetite.
- Fish without wine is like egg without salt.
- Stock is everything in cooking, at least in French cooking. Without it, nothing can be done. If one’s stock is good, what remains of the work is easy; if, on the other hand, it is bad or merely mediocre, it is quite hopeless to expect anything approaching a satisfactory result.