How Auguste Escoffier Changed The Way Professional Chefs Cook

If you've ever worked in the restaurant industry, like to cook, or have any interest in food otherwise, you've probably heard of Auguste Escoffier. The legendary French chef is so often referenced in the culinary and hospitality world that you can probably still hear your former co-worker saying, "Well that's not how Escoffier said to do it!" 

Deemed "The King of Chefs and the Chef of Kings" while he was alive, his contributions to modern dining make him worthy of that title to this day. While serving as chef at London's Savoy and Carlton hotels, his methods revolutionized the professional kitchen (via Today's World Kitchen), and his books, such as "Le Guide Culinaire" and "Le Livre Des Menus," are like sacred texts for cooks and restaurateurs worldwide. And decades after his passing in 1935, Escoffier continues to inspire culinarians who hope to have a similar impact on the industry.

Even if you've never heard his name, you will be certainly be familiar with some of Escoffier's methods, as you've undoubtedly experienced them when dining out.

Escoffier's lasting impact

Do you like your food coming out in separate courses? You can thank Auguste Escoffier for that. He changed the dining experiences so that instead of the entire meal coming to the table at once, food came out as it was ordered. Escoffier also introduced à-la-carte dining to restaurants, allowing diners to order separate items from the menu instead of being limited to a complete dish (via Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts).

You can also thank Escoffier if you like eating local and farm-to-table. In "Le Guide Culinaire," his recipes emphasize the importance of using in-season ingredients foraged from one's own locale (via The International Wine & Food Society). Unlocking the utility of garnishes can also be credited to Escoffier. According to The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, he showed that garnishes could elevate a dish's flavor instead of merely serving as a decoration. 

Perhaps Escoffier's greatest contribution to the modern professional kitchen was his Brigade de Cuisine system, which implemented a chain of command, from executive chef on down, and placed chefs at different stations based on their expertise and skills. This system streamlined the cooking process to ensure food was prepared properly and in a timely manner and is used in fine-dining kitchens to this day.

From making kitchens run more efficiently, to prioritizing customer preference, to refining the concept of choosing ingredients, Escoffier changed the culinary world.