17 Course Classical French Dinner Menu

An 18th century merchant and chef named Boulanger forever changed modern food service by selling dishes he called”‘restoratives”’ – a word which is now considered the prelude to the modern term, “restaurant.”  Before this, food in France was controlled by guilds, and guests had little choice, as the professional guild dictated the menus, not the customers.
Boulanger changed all of that as the French Revolution of 1793 ended the monarchy also changed the fabric of French society. Many chefs were suddenly put out of work and opened restaurants in and around Paris to support themselves.  They began to sometimes leave the choice of the menu to the patron.
Auguste Escoffier (1847 to 1935),  rejected the confusion and volume of the old menu, and infused a sense of order and diversity by carefully selecting and matching one or two dishes per course. It is this sequence that we today know as the Classical French 17 Course Menu. They are…

Consistency, freshness of ingredients, keeping it seasonal, and flair of the chef is what makes dining turn into a memorable experience.  Seven to seventeen courses doesn’t hurt in making it an experience for diners, so long as you follow the first rule.  It is easy to get carried away with too many courses and lose sight of the first rule.

It’s fun to compare Escoffier’s 17 course menu with that of Fanny Farmer’s of Boston which was featured in this book and NPR special, as the American and French haute cuisine menus of the time were not all that different.  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=130536078