Recently I watched a television programme about Auguste Escoffier, the French chef who changed eating into dining, making the food of the rich not only opulent but delicious.
The programme reminded me that Escoffier was one of the innovative artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries considered in Jonah Lehrer’s book Proust was a Neuroscientist. It is surprising to find a cook alongside such practitioners of the high arts as Cezanne, Stravinsky and Virginia Woolf. The book argues that avant-garde artists of that period anticipated the findings of twenty-first century neuroscience, and Lehrer describes how Escoffier elevated eating into an art form by exploring the sense of taste. He invented haute cuisine. Continue reading