Friday, May 28, 2010

French Cookery - The Art of Gastronomy

As an avid cooking enthusiast, I thought today I would talk about my interest in French cookery, and in particular the concept of gastronomy…

Gastronomy is the study of the relationship between culture and food, focusing particularly on gourmet cuisine. Modern gastronomy theory is rooted in several French texts published in the 1800s, although the idea of relating food to science, society, and the arts has been around for much longer. True gastronomy is a demanding, multi-disciplinary art examining food itself, along with its context, presentation, freshness, and history. 

The principle of gastronomy is that food is both a science and an art form. By understanding how the senses contribute to an experience, a gastronome can better understand the implications of consumer likes and dislikes. Gastronomy also examines the sociological significance of food, along with integrating other social science disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. The role of food in the fine arts, including performance art, painting, and sculpture, is also examined as part of a general analysis of food's role in society.

According to Sydney-based business Beatrice Levanti, gastronomy as an art needs to be perpetuated, taught and understood, in order to preserve its essential elements: "It is the chef's duty to be an ambassador of culture, of knowledge and of authenticity; a person who will not compromise, but strive only for excellence. We are already designing the Gastronomy of the future by our multiple connections and access to a global world. But we must not lose the most important elements and we must preserve its essence: as an 'accessible' cuisine that is well-balanced, healthy and pleasurable".
To this extent, Beatrice Levanti offers the French Gourmet Academy, a training option for professional chefs to learn the practices and theories of French Gastronomy…
"Our mission is to provide students from all over the world with the skills that lie behind the exceptional reputation of French gastronomy. We aim to open doors and provide every opportunity for our students to embark on successful and enriching career paths in the finest traditions of French cuisine. The Academy was created to provide the highest quality culinary training available. We are committed to an ongoing international focus that will enable students to play an effective role in this multicultural field and to work anywhere in the world."

If you would like to learn more about gastronomy, but like me, you are not a professional chef, but rather an avid home cook, then I would like to share with you one of my all-time favourite culinary references, Larousse Gastronomique.

Larousse Gastronomique is the world's classic culinary reference book. Larousse Gastronomique contains over 900 colour and black and white photographs, as well as 85 biographies of well-known chefs. Larousse Gastronomique is known and loved for its authoritative and comprehensive collection of recipes. Updated in 2009,

Originally created by Prosper Montagne and published in 1938, this essential addition to any kitchen has withstood the test of time and become an invaluable source of information for every enthusiastic cook. Without the exaggeration and extravagant distractions of many of today's cookery titles, Larousse Gastronomique contains recipes, tips, cooking styles and origins for almost every dish in history.

To find out more on the French Gourmet Academy run by Beatrice Levanti visit If you would like more information on Larousse Gastronomique, visit Angus and Robertson.

Have a lovely day!… Anna