Le Guide culinaire

Georges Auguste Escoffier’s Le Guide culinaire was Escoffier’s attempt to codify and streamline the French restaurant food of the day.

Cover of French 2001 printing

Cover of French 2001 printing

History

The first edition was printed in 1903 in French, the second edition was published in 1907, the third in 1912, and the current fourth edition in 1921.

Usage and Style

The original text was printed for the use of professional chefs and kitchen staff; Escoffier’s introduction to the first edition explains his intention that Le Guide culinaire be used toward the education of the younger generation of cooks. This usage of the book still holds today; many culinary schools still use it as their culinary textbook.

Its style is to give recipes as brief descriptions and to assume that the reader either knows or can look up the keywords in the description.

English Edition

An abridged English translation was published in 1907 as A Guide to Modern Cookery, and an edition was published in 1957 with an introduction by Eugène Herbodeau. An English translation of 1921 French fourth edition, by H. L. Cracknell and R. J. Kaufmann, was published in 1979 as The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery: The First Translation into English in Its Entirety of Le Guide Culinaire, including “some 2,000 additional recipes” omitted from the more than 5000 recipes of the 1907 translation. The 1979 translation was subsequently published as Escoffier: The Complete Guide to the Art of Modern Cookery (1983), and a revised second edition with new forewords was published as Escoffier: Le Guide Culinaire, Revised (2011)

Le Répertoire de la Cuisine, written by Escoffier’s student Louis Saulnier, is a companion guide to this culinary reference.

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