Reflections on the death of fine dining ...
Every few years some publication or other sounds the death knell of haute cuisine and fine dining detailing how the decline in both the desire for and standards of Michelin style fine dining and French cuisine in particular are dwindling by the passing minute.
True that there are less people that seem to have the time or desire to sit in stuffy ultra expensive dining rooms and be fawned over by pompous waiters serving overly rich food at stratospheric prices. However this was what was said when the grand old dining of Escoffiers era was replaced by the fashionable nouvelle cuisine of the 1970’s and the style of fine dining that endured through the 70’s, 80’s and start of the 90’s.
Ineveitably everything evolves and the new fine dining or haute cuisine is much more approachable but haute cuisine it is none the less. Each generation learns from the last and now the disciples of Ducasse, Robuchon et al have applied a more modern style to the dining room resulting in restaurants around the globe that serve the same high quality haute cuisine of years gone by but in more casual surroundings and in many cases at much more approachable prices.
Add to that the interest in Spanish, Iatlian and Japanese cuisines and the favours will change but at the end of the day the French technique is still very often at the backbone of these modern fine dining restaurants. Chefs the world over began to once again question the dogma and techniques that formed haute cuisine and once again redefine it for the new century.
The very heart of fine dining and haute cuisine is the excellence of produce, the care and love lavished on cooking and serving it , the pride of wanting to be the best and to deliver the best to your guests. The wonderful thing is that these days the principles of haute cuisine and fine dining can be found not only at the top end of the market but across the spectrum of the market at different price levels making it more accessible and not just the priviilage of the wealthy.
Haute Cuisine is dead …. Long live Haute Cuisine !