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24 - À table !

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Denis Saillard

Chefs vs gastronomes. Story of a media defeat (1880-1940)

Le Temps des médias n° 24, Printemps-Été 2015, p. 44-65.


While gastronomic littérature glorified cooking and chefs during the 19th century, a rivalry grows in the 1920s between gastronomes, led by Curnonsky, and some important members of the Société des cuisiniers de Paris, especially Prosper Montagné and Philéas Gilbert. A battle breaks out in the newspapers. Gastronomes win in the 1930s. The chefs started to go inside the medias during the decades before the First World War, but, after 1918, they don’t understand the popularity of regional cuisines whereas clubs of gastronomes flourish in all French provinces. Chefs’ discourse remains one pronounced by professionals meanwhile gastronomes look to speak in the name of customers. Still more fundamentally chefs are always suspicious of gastronomic litterature. Their media defeat is also emblematic of the usual but maybe illusory supremacy given to representing on practising in modern societies.

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