The discovery of a new dish...
"The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star" - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (French Gastronome & lawyer (1755 - 1826) - Physiologie du Gout, 1825
Reflecting our place as a relatively new Nation within the British Commonwealth, formal menus in the 1920s were typically written in French, deferring to fine dining customs in Britain at the time. Was Western Australia merely following the fashion in England or was the intent to show just how sophisticated and urbane a State we were?
Over time, however, a less ostentatious approach was taken with formal dinner menus for visiting dignitaries. Indeed, a Cabinet luncheon held on the 2nd June 1978 for His Excellency Monsieur Jean- Bernard Merimee Ambassador of France and his wife seems to be pointedly simple in description and modest in execution. This straightforward approach to presentation of cuisine is in marked contrast to the menus of the 1920s, perhaps reflecting Western Australia’s growing confidence in how it presented itself to others.
For many, modern French cuisine was founded with the 1651 publication of François Pierre de la Varenne’s Le Cuisinier françois. The subsequent centuries saw the development and reputation of the cuisine grow beyond the borders of France. What was the loss of a French aristocrat’s head was a gain to an English gastronome’s appetite as a number of chefs sailed across la Manche to continue their careers. This influence was to eventually have a great effect on the reputation of French food and dining etiquette in Britain.