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Nouvelle Cuisine now


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A chef I spoke to recently talked of the thrill, as a commis in his early 20s in a pompous french restaurant in New York, of the notion of nouvelle cuisine. In 1973 or so. He said it hit him, when he first read about it, like the first time he heard Pink Floyd, or got properly stoned - there was another way, an alternative, a way of eating that was fresh and honest and said goodbye and good riddance to the older generation. And bechamel.

He quit his job, started his own place and so on... Tuned in, turned on, got a bank loan.

I'm younger - nouvelle cuisine was a TV comedian's joke by the time I clocked it. Now the phrase is mainly used as an insult.

Was it really such a big thing? Was it really new? And did it significantly alter anything?

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Ask John Georges or Charlie Trotter or Wylie Dufresne for example...or every other chef who uses fresh, local ingredients, presents beautiful plates, uses new techniques and "modern" equipment, and "invents" new dishes.

While the term "nouvelle cuisine" may have gone out of fashion, I think the formula and principles of it are widely applied and used...just don't call it that.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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High end cooking today from Ferran Adria to Eric Ziebold is basically a continuation of Nouvelle Cuisine, albeit with stylistic variations. Unless one prefers the heavy sauces of classic French cooking, one owes a great debt to those chefs who gave us Nouvelle Cuisine. This style is the basis for what some now call "Technoemotional" cooking, a term which encompasses much creative, modern, haute cuisine cooking. The term would only be used as an insult by someone who has no understanding of the history of modern cooking.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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