The French Classical Menu: France and to some extent Switzerland took the lead in standardizing and globalising the art offood presentation and food service. The earliest form of banqueting and formal food servicegoes back to monarchs who used to serve up huge meals consisting of 50-80 dishes in the honorof visiting heads of state in the early 15th century. The menu slowly underwent modifications wherein the French classical menusevolved. This classical menu had some 17 distinct courses which slowly got reduced to 14,thenwent on to become 11.This classical menu has many regional varieties but dining in theContinent, 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 fortoday’s guests.9.2 Sequence Of Courses For The French Classical Menu: Before attempting to discuss the details of the courses of the French classicalmenu, 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 theclassical menu:Sl.no:CourseEnglish equivalent1Hors-d’oeuvreStarters2PotageSoup3Poisson
Fish4EntréeEntry of meat5Relev’eRelieve or butcher joints of meat6SorbetThe rest course7RotiRoasts8LegumesVegetables9EntremetsKitchen sweets10SavoureuxSavory11DessertFresh fruits and nuts.
Fig 9.1 9.3 Cover For Each Course: Each course of the continental menu has a distinct cover. The exceptions incover set up are also well documented. Any aspiring food and beverage service professional hasto be sure of the table set up, cover and the accompaniments which are served with everycourse so as to compliment the chef’s efforts with the food service. The credit to standardization of cover set up may be attributed to thecelebrated maitre d’hotel Oscar of the Valdorf, who when working with the waldorf Astoriacame up with a multivolume illustration in his culinary work of 1904.He has given distinct tablesettings 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 tradewhich should help them set correct covers for the distinct courses of the French classical menu. Fig 9.2CourseSet upExceptionHors-d oeuvreFish knife +fish forkFish plateOrSmall knife +small fork half plateFor starters served in a coupe or bowl, coupe on a doilley covered quarter plate with a teaspoon passedPotageSoup bowl on a soup saucer on a quarter plate with soup spoon or soup plate on a large platewith a soup spoon
For consommé, consommé cup on a saucer on quarter plate with dessert spoonPoissonFish 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 plateEntremetsDessert spoon, dessert fork, dessert plateFor entremets served in glass coupe’, coupe’ on a doilley covered quarter plate with a tea spoonpassedSavoureuxSmall knife, small fork, half plate--------------
DessertFruit knife, fruit fork, dessert plateNut cracker, grape scissor; spare quarter plate, two finger bowls one with warm water andlemon wedge, another with cold water and a rose petal both on a quarter plate are passedwhen whole fruits and nuts in shells are presented.9.4 Examples From Each Course:9.4.1 Hors-D’oeuvre:These are spicy tit-bits of tangy food, which can be usually eaten in one or two bites. Theyenhance the appetite for the courses to follow. Horse-d’oeuvre can be classified into:· Classical hors-d’oeuvre: I. Caviar: roe of sturgeon fish served onblinis,a buck wheat flour pancake II. Oysters III. Smoked salmon IV. Goose liver paste V. Snails: served with garlic butter. VI. Potted shrimps· Hors-d’oeuvre varies: I. Tuna canapé II. Salmon canapé III. Chicken canapé IV. Egg canapé V. Cheese/cucumber/tomato canapé VI. Russian salad VII. Beetroot salad VIII. Potato favorite
IX. Tomato juice X. Mixed fruit cocktail XI. Grape fruit cocktail XII. Melon cocktail XIII. Asparagus XIV. Corn on the cob XV. Globe artichoke9.4.2 Potage: SoupsSoups are liquid food served at the beginning of a meal. In smaller contemporary menu soup isusually served as a choice for starters. Originally in France “soups” meant a slice of bread intowhich was poured the contents of the pot which most often contained unstrained slices ofmeat, vegetables or fish, pasta, rice etc. Hence came the word potage.Soups can be classified into:· Thick soups· Thin soupsThick soups: can be classified on the basis of their thickening agents intoa. Puree soup: thickened by starch content of vegetables cooked in the soup.b. Cream soup: thickened by adding roux or béchamel sauce in the stock.c. Veloute soup: thickened by adding egg yolk, butter and creamd. Bisque: made from pureed shellfish, cream and rice as thickening agent.Examples of thick soup:Puree soupi. Puree of celery soupii. Puree of leek soupiii. Puree of asparagus soupiv. Puree of carrot soupv. Puree of potato soup
Cream soupi. Cream of tomato soupii. Cream of spinach soupiii. Cream of asparagus soupiv. Cream of chicken soupv. Cream of mushroom soupVeloute soup: (i) Artichoke veloute soup (ii) Asparagus veloute soup (iii) Chicken veloute soupBisque : (i) Lobster bisque (ii) Mix seafood bisque (iii) Chicago bisqueThin Soups: These are usually listed before thick soups and are commonly flavored stock withpieces of vegetables or meat added as garnish. Thin soups can be of the following types( i ) Consommé and consommé derivatives : They are well flavored stock which are clarifiedbefore being passed through a double muslin. Consommés are named on the garnish added tothem.(ii) Broth: These are thin soups, passed but not clarified. They have a distinct flavor of aromaticherbs.Examples of thin soups areConsommé I. Consommé célestine - A consommé garnished with slices of thin pancakes. II. Consommé Royale - A consommé garnished with savory egg custard. III. Consommé Colbert - A consommé garnished with poached eggs. IV. Consommé Julienne - A consommé garnished with long thin slices of vegetableslike carrot, pimento and cabbage. V. Consommé Brunoise - A consommé with small cubes of vegetables like carrot, turnipand pimento.
Consommé Derivatives I. Borsch -A duck flavored consommé II. Clear turtle soup - A consommé flavored with turtle herbs III. French onion soup - A consommé covered with slices of French bread, fried onions,cheese and gratinated. IV. Petite marmite - A beef consommé with small pieces of chicken, carrot, leekand celery.Broth I. Scotch broth II. Fennel scented vegetable broth.Soup can also be classified as cold soups and international soup.Cold soup are soups served chilled or with ice-cubes.International soups are the national soups of different countries.Examples of cold soup I. Gazpacho: A blend of raw cucumber, pimento and tomato with crushed garlic andbread, seasoned with cumin and served with bread croutons and chopped onion. II. Vichyssoise: A stew of leek with onion and butter with a swirl of whipped cream anda sprinkling of chopped chives. III.INTERNATIONAL SOUPS:SOUPCOUNTRYMINESTRONE
ITALYGAZPACHOSPAINBORSCHPOLAND/ RUSSIACOCK -E- LEEKIESCOTLANDOXTAILENGLANDCREAM OF TOMATOUSAMULLIGATWANY
INDIA/SRILANKAWATERZOIBELGIUMLINSENSUPPEGERMANYFRENCH ONION SOUPFRANCEPETITE MARMITEFRANCETURTLE SOUPENGLAND9.4.3 Poisson: Fish:Fish is a rich source of protein in the diet. It is available in the following types: I. Round Fish e.g. Bombay duck, haddock and cod
II. Flat Fish e.g. pomfret, sole, brill III. Shell fish e.g. lobster, prawn, crabs etcFish can be cooked in a variety of methods poached, baked, grilled or shallow and deep-fried.Richer fish preparation like grills, baked or deep-fried are popular for dinner whereas poached,shallow fried etc are more often featured on the lunch menu.Examples of fish dishes will include:1. Fillet of sole Colbert: Fillet of sole fish, dipped in egg white, rolled in bread crumbs, deepfried and served with Colbert butter2. Fillet of pomfret Orly: Fillet of pomfret egg washed, bread crumbed, dipped in frying batterand deep fried, served with tomato sauce.3. Fillet of sole meuniere: Fillet of sole rolled in flour, shallow fried in hot butter served with aslice of lemon, with nut butter poured on top. Chopped parsley sprinkled on top4. Fillet of pomfret Bonne Femme: Fillet of pomfret cooked in white wine and fish stock withchopped shallots, parsley and diced button mushrooms, reduced in oven with butter cream.5. Grilled white bait: Grilled white bait served with cubes of maitre d ‘hotel butter.6. Lobster Americaine: dices of lobster cooked with tomatoes, butter, crushed garlic, shallots,white wine and finished with brandy.7. Fried fillet of pomfret: deep fried fillet of pomfret served with tartare sauce9.4.4 Entrée: Entry Of Meat:This is the first meat course of the classical menu. With the contemporary menu becoming moreand more compact, entrée today is probably the most favored main course. Entrée comprises ofsmall pieces of meat served with sauce or gravy.By itself an entrée is a main course. However if an entrée were followed by relevé or rôti, itwould be considered a side dish in a menu.Popular examples of entrée are1. Chicken Maryland: A segment of chicken given egg wash, coated with bread crumbs andshallow fried. It is classically served with bacon rashes, corn cakes and banana fritters2. Chicken Chasseur: sautéd chicken cooked in demiglaze with mushrooms, shallots, tomatoand white wine
3. Chicken à la kiev: supreme of chicken stuffed with butter, coated with egg wash, crumbedand deep fried and served with mashed potatoes4. Chicken à la king: Diced chicken cooked in a cream sauce with red & green peppers servedin a ring of boiled rice.5. Beef Strognoff: A preparation of thinly sliced beef, coated with cream sauce, garnishedwith onions and mushroom, served on a bed of rice.6. Moussaka: A dish from Greece, made from diced aubergine arranged in layers alternatingwith mutton and onion with aubergine pulp on the top, add béchamel sauce and serve withtomato fondue.7. Irish stew: A stew of mutton & potatoes cooked with sliced onion, simmered on slow fire.Served with pickled red cabbage and Worcestershire sauce.8. Lamb Cutlets: Seasoned cutlets of lamb with pepper, salt, coat with beaten eggs, crumband sauté in clarified butter.9. Grilled Pork chops: Season pork chops with salt and pepper, brush with butter and grill on abarbeque. Garnish with watercress sprinkled with lemon. The classical accompaniment is Applesauce10. Kebab Orientale: Savory chunks of meat and vegetables cooked on a skewer9.4.5 Relevé:Butcher joints of meat:This course is the main course of the French menu. Relevé and rôti are both considered maincourses and unless all the 11 courses are being served in the same meal, which is a rarity today,the two courses do not appear together in the same menu.Relevé generally comprises of large joints of butcher’s meat that are roasted, grilled, braised orpoêléd and are served with vegetables and accompaniment sauces.Relevé are carved at the table, sideboard or on a carving trolley just prior to service.Some popular examples of relevéRoast leg of lamb served with mint sauceRoast leg of mutton served with onion sauceRoast leg of pork served with apple sauceRoast leg of beef served with horseradish sauce
9.4.6 SORBET: The rest Course:In the classical French menu, the sorbet is considered as the rest course between two maincourses relevé and rôti. The guest may be escorted to the nearby lounge away from the diningtable. As the table is reset for the subsequent courses, the guests are served chilled sorbet.Cigars and cigarettes may also be passed at this stage though tobacco is not a part of the sorbetcourse.Sorbets are chilled drinks granular, do not contain fat or egg yolkThe basic ingredients are1. A fruit juice or fruit puree2. A wine, liqueur or an infusion of tea/coffee3. Sugar syrup4. Some meringue for volumeExamples of sorbet includePeach SorbetRaspberry SorbetLemon SorbetChampagne SorbetCalvados SorbetApricot SorbetSugarcane Sorbet9.4.7 RÔTI: ROAST:Considered the heaviest course in the French classical menu, this course comprises of roastpoultry, roast games birds and roast game animals.Like relevé they are served with typical sauce, roast gravy, vegetables and potatoLarge game animals includeØ Deer , roebuck, wild boarSmall game animals include
Ø Hare , wild rabbitGame birds includeØ Pheasant , partridge, wild turkey, woodcockGame are animals and birds that are hunted for their meat. Many countries have bannedhunting of many of the above animals.Therefore Food and Beverage team should be aware of the local laws and not include anybanned meat in menu.Poultry includes: Chicken, Duck, Goose, Turkey, Rabbit.Roast game animals are generally served with red currant jelly or Cumberland sauce. Roastgame birds are usually served with bread sauce or cranberry sauce.Some examples of rôti course include:Roast chicken with bread sauceRoast duck with apple saucePot Roasted duck with orange sauceRoast goose with apple sauceRoast turkey with cranberry sauceRoast deer with Cumberland sauce.9.4.8 Légume: Vegetables:This course indicates a stage of the classical menu where the dishes become lighter again. Thelégume course adds fiber, minerals and vitamins to the diet. Vegetables served with relevé orrôti are accompaniments and are not included in the legume course. The légume course consistsof such vegetables that are served with some accompaniment sauces. In a vegetarian menu thiscourse would become the main course, otherwise it is a side course.When served as a side course it is served in a smaller portion on a half plate whereas when itappears as main course it is served in a larger portion and is dished on a very large plate alongwith its accompanimentsIn this aspect it is similar to the entrée. Unless it is a vegan menu (food without eggs and meats)some sauces used in legumes course could contain eggs.Examples of legume course:
Boiled Asparagus tips served hot in hollandaise sauceArtichoke hearts served cold with mayonnaise sauceRoasted corn cobs served with melted butterVegetable au gratin: vegetables in béchamel sauce, cheese sprinkled on top and gratinated in asalamander.Vegetable Cutlets: Mashed mixture of boiled vegetables like potato, carrots, bean, and peasseasoned with salt and pepper, given an egg wash, crumbed and deep fried, served with potatochips and boiled vegetables.9.4.9: Entremet: The Sweet Course:Entremet are kitchen, bakery and confectionery sweets served towards the end of the Frenchclassical menu. The misnomer we need to understand is that entremet gets dessert spoon anddessert fork on the cover, where as the dessert course is eaten with a fruit knife and fruit fork.The dessert indicators, meant for the entremet, are placed on the top of the cover.These sweets may be of two typesCold SweetsHot SweetsExamples of sweets served hot or warm:Puddings like cabinet pudding, diplomat pudding, bread and butter pudding, caramel custard.Fruit fritters like banana fritters, apple fritter, pineapple fritters etc.Pancakes like : Crepe suzette, crepe au sucréSoufflé like : Chocolate Soufflé , Coffee soufflé, Vanilla SouffléCold sweets include:Bavarois like: coffee bavarois, ribbon bavaroisFruit salad: Served with cream or ice creamMousse: like coffee mousse, Chocolate mousse etcIce cream sweets: Peach Melba, Sundae, and different flavors of ice-cream.9.4.10 Savoureux: The Savory Course:
In the French classical menu, guests who do not wish to have sweets at the end of the mealchoose savoury to close their meal. Savoury are small tit-bits of canapé or toast on which spicyfillings are placed. Savouries and entremets are not served together in small meal. Infact mostcontemporary meals are closed by any one of the three courses: entremet, savoury or dessertExamples of savoury course:Anchovies on toastSardines on toastMushrooms on toastCheese chilly toastAngels on horseback: Poached oysters wrapped in bacon , grilled on skewers and served ontoastDevils on horseback: Stoned , cooked prunes stuffed with spicy chutney , wrapped in bacon ,grilled and served on toast.9.4.11 Dessert: The Last Course:The finale of the French classical menu, this course includes fresh fruits and nuts which arepresented in a basket or a fruit stand. As mentioned earlier the cover for dessert is a fruit knifeand fruit fork and a cold dessert plate. Nut crackers, Grape scissors and a spare quarter plate forthe shells is passedThe following fruits and nuts are usually served in the dessert course:Fresh ApricotsKiwi FruitFresh StrawberryGrape FruitMangoesLycheesGrapesApplesOrangesNuts that may be offered
Cashew nutsAlmondsPistachioWalnutsHazzlenuts9.5 Accompaniment For Common Dishes in the Classical MenuFruit cocktails and juices: castor sugar .Tomato juice : salt , pepper, Worcestershire sauce.Oyster: Oyster cruet consisting of (cayenne pepper, pepper mill, chili vinegar, Tabasco sauce)andbrown bread & butter.Snails : Hot garlic butter , brown bread.Smoked salmon: Cayenne pepper, pepper mill, brown bread and butter, segment oflemon,tabasco sauce.Caviar: Blinis, Sieved hard boiled egg white and egg yolk, chopped parsley, chopped shallots,brown bread and butter, cayenne pepper, pepper mill, ½ lemon tied in muslin cloth.Melon: Ground ginger, castor sugarAsparagus: When served hot: Hollandaise or melted butterwhen served cold: Mayonnaise or vinaigrette.Corn on the cob: Melted butterGoose liver paste: Hot breakfast toastMinestrone Soup: Grated parmesan cheeseCream of Tomato Soup: Cream, Fried CroutonsBorsch: Sour cream, Beetroot juice and bouchees filled with duck pasteMuligatwany: Boiled RiceFillet of Pomfret: Tartare sauceFillet of Sole Orly: Tomato SauceChicken Maryland: Corn cakes, Banana fritters, bacon rashes
Roast turkey: Cranberry Sauce, Chipolatas ,Roast gravy, game chips ,bread sauceRoast chicken : Bread Sauce, Roast Gravy, Game ChipsRoast lamb: Mint Sauce, Roast Gravy , Roast potatoesRoast mutton: Red currant jelly, Roast gravy. Onion SauceRoast Pork: Apple Sauce, Roast Gravy, Sage and onion stuffing.Cheese Platter: Cream Cracker biscuits, Melted butter, Celery sticks, Salt & pepper, Mustard.