You've always been able to buy cooked food but the concept of a restaurant is only about 200 years old. And the man who really started the boom was Georges Auguste Escoffier.
Today, we're going to look at the innovations Escoffier brought to cooking and dining and also examine why restaurants are often said to be the hardest business of all.
The word restaurant means ârestorativeâ and likely refers to rich broth soups that would restore people's energy and health. There's a claim in France that the first restaurant appeared in 1765, run by a Mr Boulanger. But there's no actual evidence for this.
Here's what we do know; many people in the cities wouldn't have had their own kitchen and would have either bought cooked meals from the inns and taverns or whatever was available from street vendors. In cities like Paris, there were strict guilds and rules so a vendor would have been forbidden from selling a range of foods. For the aristocracy, the fine dining was mostly found in the great mansions and palaces, or in hotels. However, after the French revolution, at the end of the 18th century, many of those aristocrats took a trip to the guillotine.
Before Escoffier, being a chef was not a very attractive job. You were still a servant, the kitchens were hot and it was pretty dangerous. And for diners, the few restaurants that existed were chaotic; food would be inconsistent and dishes would come out in a very haphazard order.
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