French Classical Menu

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The French Classical Menu:

France and to some extent Switzerland took the lead in standardizing and globalising the art of food presentation and food service. The earliest form of banqueting and formal food service goes back to monarchs who used to serve up huge meals consisting of 50-80 dishes in the honor of visiting heads of state in the early 15th century.

The menu slowly underwent modifications wherein the French classical menus evolved. This classical menu had some 17 distinct courses which slowly got reduced to 14,then went on to become 11.This classical menu has many regional varieties but dining in the Continent, Europe, is even today as per the sequence of courses of the classical menu. Today, very rarely are all these courses served together .We select a few, 3-5,courses from the classical menu to compile smaller, attractive and balanced menu for today’s guests. 9.2 Sequence Of Courses For The French Classical Menu:

Before attempting to discuss the details of the courses of the French classical menu, one should be thorough with the sequence and a basic comprehension of the courses, which make up the classical menu. The following is the sequence of the 11 courses of the classical menu: Sl.no:CourseEnglish equivalent

1Hors-d’oeuvreStarters
2PotageSoup
3Poisson Fish
4EntréeEntry of meat
5Relev’eRelieve or butcher joints of meat
6SorbetThe rest course
7RotiRoasts
8LegumesVegetables
9EntremetsKitchen sweets
10Savoureux Savory
11DessertFresh fruits and nuts.
Fig 9.1
9.3 Cover For Each Course:
Each course of the continental menu has a distinct cover. The exceptions in cover set up are also well documented. Any aspiring food and beverage service professional has to be sure of the table set up, cover and the accompaniments which are served with every course so as to compliment the chef’s efforts with the food service. The credit to standardization of cover set up may be attributed to the celebrated maitre d’hotel Oscar of the Valdorf, who when working with the waldorf Astoria came up with a multivolume illustration in his culinary work of 1904.He has given distinct table settings and mentioned the style of service for each course of the continental menu. The following chart is a broad guideline for students of the catering trade which should help them set correct covers for the distinct courses of the French classical menu.

Fig 9.2
Course Set upException
Hors-d oeuvreFish knife +fish fork
Fish plate
Or
Small knife +small fork half plateFor starters served in a coupe or bowl, coupe on a doilley covered quarter plate with a tea spoon passed PotageSoup bowl on a soup saucer on a quarter plate with soup spoon or soup plate on a large plate with a soup spoonFor consommé, consommé cup on a saucer on quarter plate with dessert spoon PoissonFish knife, fish fork with a fish plate-------

EntréeLarge knife large fork with a large plateWhen entrée is followed by releve’ or roti entree’ gets small knife, small fork and half plate. Releve’Large knife, large fork with a large plate----------------- SorbetSorbet glass on quarter plate covered with a doilley.tea spoon passed.------------- RotiLarge knife, large fork with a large plate-------------- LegumesSmall knife, small fork with a half plate.For a vegetarian meal large knife, large fork and a large plate EntremetsDessert spoon, dessert fork, dessert plateFor entremets served in glass coupe’, coupe’ on a doilley covered quarter plate with a tea spoon passed SavoureuxSmall knife, small fork, half plate-------------- DessertFruit knife, fruit fork, dessert plateNut cracker, grape scissor; spare quarter plate, two finger bowls one with warm water and lemon wedge, another with cold water and a rose petal both on a quarter plate are passed when whole fruits and...
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