French food critic who roused appetite for nouvelle cuisine dies

PARIS: The French food critic Christian Millau, who whetted the world’s appetite for nouvelle cuisine, has died aged 88, his friends said on Monday.
The journalist, who launched the famed Gault & Millau guide in 1969 with his late colleague Henri Gault, helped galvanise the movement of young French chefs developing lighter, more inventive and beautiful looking dishes that altered restaurant menus forever.
The guide’s director Come de Cherisey said that Millau helped change food culture across the world and championed chefs now seen as some of the world’s best.
“He revolutionised the world of gastronomy by supporting chefs he discovered like Joel Robuchon and Michel Guerard. He was also close to Paul Bocuse and helped (officially) launch nouvelle cuisine in 1973,” he added.
The nouvelle cuisine — or “new cooking” — movement was a reaction to the supposed fussy complications and rich sauces of classic French cuisine, which relied heavily on butter and cream.
Instead its supporters, led by Millau and Gault — who coined the term — advocated lighter meals and shorter more health-conscious menus.
Between them they drew up the “10 commandments” of nouvelle cuisine by pulling together the styles of the young chefs like Bocuse, Robuchon and Alain Senderens they admired. They urged chefs to be more inventive both visually and in the ingredients they used, insisting on freshness and lightness.
“These new nouvelle cuisine commandments were a big bang at the time,” Cherisey insisted. “Everything then was very traditional — sauces were heavy and meats gamey — and there was not the same emphasis on the artistry of the chefs.” — AFP