French cuisine has always been highly regarded all over the world and there are plenty of chefs who have opened their own French restaurants in towns and cities on nearly every continent. There are many traditional dishes which have stood the tests of time but there are also some very innovative ones which is why French cuisine will always be considered as a gastronomic delight that will always have something new to offer discerning diners.
I was very fortunate a few years ago to be invited to a wonderful restaurant that had been opened by a French chef who had made his home in England. His name is Raymond Blanc and his restaurant is called La Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons. Not only is the restaurant in a superb location in Oxfordshire, but it also serves some of the best traditional and new French cuisine I have ever tasted in my entire life. Raymond Blanc uses vegetables, herbs and other produce grown in his beautiful gardens which reminded me so much of my childhood and my grandmothers love of her own fruit trees, vegetable and herb gardens.
Of course there are many famous French chefs who have delighted us with their recipes and cooking and none more so that the Roux brothers. Michel Roux has to be considered as the ‘grand seigneur’ of French cuisine and has published many superb French cookery books including one called ‘Gavroche’. This is a masterpiece of cook books offering a selection of French dessert recipes that are to die for. Combining traditional French cuisine with modern day recipes, I know that I will be putting this book on my wish list for Christmas.
Another great favourite of mine, is Jean-Christophe Novelli. He is an award winning chef whose recipes are really unique and extremely innovative. People just love his cooking and enrol on the French cooking courses that he organises both on the Internet and at his establishments.
French cooking is all about tradition but it is also about adding a personal touch to a recipe and these French chefs certainly have done that. They inspire us with their ideas and creativity which makes us want to try new French dishes all the time. I for one love to find a new way of cooking meats, fish and vegetables even though I still like to prepare the very traditional French dishes I grew up with.
The marvellous part about French cuisine is that once you have mastered the basics, which are the sauces and the combination of herbs that are used in many of the dishes, the rest really does come quite easily. The thing to remember is that all the ingredients do have to be the best quality possible for the dish to really turn out well.
From the basic stews and casseroles to ‘haute cuisine’ the flavours of France are unique. I adore everything about it and will never cease to learn about new French dishes which in time will become classics. This is all thanks to these marvellous chefs whose creativity in the kitchen makes it all happen.