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mrdecoy1970

Classical vs Contemporary Sauces

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Hi I'm wondering what the differences are between the two. People say Escoffier is really dated but never elaborate, so I would like to know. Thanks.

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Hi I'm wondering what the differences are between the two. People say Escoffier is really dated but never elaborate, so I would like to know. Thanks.

Off the top of my head:

Thickeners: Classical sauces often used flour to thicken then. Contemporary sauces use reductions of the liquid itself rather than adding a starch, or don't thicken it at all.

Structure: Classical sauces are generally created by taking a "mother" sauce (e.g. veloute, bechemal, supreme) and adding flavouring ingredients to create desired variation. Contemporary sauces don't have such a structured typography.

Integralness (is that a word?: Classical sauces prepared seperate from dish. Contemporary prepared as part of the dish.

NB by "contemporary" I mean anything non-Escoffier ie nouvelle cuisine onwards. Of course one you get molecular with all sorts of fluid gels, carrageens etc it gets even more complicated.

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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Thanks Jon how is a sauce built as part of the dish? can you give me an example? and yes I mean contemporary but not the "modernist" methods. I just want to know how sauce making has evolved. Thanks

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Thanks Jon how is a sauce built as part of the dish? can you give me an example? and yes I mean contemporary but not the "modernist" methods. I just want to know how sauce making has evolved. Thanks

e.g. deglaze the pan you fried the iberico pork in with stock/sherry/etc, add some juniper berries/random flavour ingredient. finish with butter.

In contrast to have some chef saucier on the other side of the kitchen prepare a veal stock several hours ago, reduce it, add madeira, thicken with flour and then add juniper berries at the end and then come across to you and splosh it over the finished dish.

If you want a good understanding of sauces my recommendation is to get your hands on a copy of James Peterson's Sauces: Classical and Contemporary Sauce Making. It explains this all far better than I could!

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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In general I think contemporary sauces can either refer to puree's and reductions (Nouvelle Cuisine, i.e. no starch/roux thicknerers) or use of modified starches, hydrocolloids, and gels (Modern Cuisine).

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The early 1800’s was the time of the great French chef Careme, who classified sauces as coming from four bases or mothers, Béchamel, Espagnole, Veloute and Allemande. His contribution to the world of sauce making and perfecting was huge, so that by the time of his successor Escoffier, writing his Culinary Guide in 1902, there are over 200 sauces in the western chef’s repertoire.

(Escoffier, reclassified sauces replacing Allemande with the Egg Emulsions, whose mother he called Hollandaise whose secondaries included Mayonnaise, Béarnaise & Russian salad dressing. Escoffier also introduced a fifth mother sauce, Tomato)

Careme and Escoffier’s recipes became known as the ‘classic’ sauces. (They are not called Classical in the culinary world).In the 1960’s the Haute Cuisine and Classic Cuisine movements were replaced by Nouvelle Cuisine. Henri Gault, Paul Bocuse, The Troisgros brothers and Michel Guerard did their best in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s to break up the Classic French chefs strangle hold on the world of sauces and introduced contemporary or modern sauces which were lighter and more delicate in their making and plating. Cream and butter sauces replaced reduced meat stocks and rich sauces; broths, de-glazed pans, simple vinaigrettes and sweet and savory purees became popular. Sauces went under and around their partners rather than over the top. Sauces became artistic smears across Michelin starred restaurant plates and with the merging of eastern and western cuisines in Fusion cooking from the 1970’s onwards some foods submerged themselves totally in their sauces or thin aromatic broths, or just dipped their feet in with the widespread use of Asian dipping sauces. The most recent culinary movement, Molecular Cookery or Gastronomy, was established by the Hester Blumenthal’s and Ferran Adria’s of the culinary world but built on the earlier foundations of Colloid Chemistry & Cookery experimenters like Bella Lowe in the 30’s and Harold McGee in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, who in his, ‘Food & Cooking’ book alone, dedicated 56 pages to the discussion of sauces.

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