Modern Cuisine is a culinary movement founded by Yannick Alléno in 2013
Modern in its soul, visionary and defiantly Alléno, it aims to marry a perfect mastery of classic French cuisine’s traditional techniques with genuine creative ambition and an extra ingredient: culinary research.
While acknowledging the great work done by the pioneers of nouvelle cuisine, Yannick Alléno today offers his Manifesto of Modern Cuisine in which he lays out this new cuisine’s 18 basic principles :
- You shall serve fresh products
- You shall respect the seasons
- You shall highlight foraged produce
- You shall prioritize plants and vegetables
- You shall be inspired by the sequence of the Gastronomic Meal of the French
- You shall make the aperitif an exciting event
- You shall serve bread as a special moment
- You shall make the main course the centre of the meal
- You shall be creative with cheese, to make a link between sweet and savoury
- You shall assemble flavours in desserts
- You shall create and invent, not just rework
- You shall prioritize new techniques
- You shall use revolutionary culinary tools
- You shall perfect the Extractions® for making jus
- You shall concentrate, not evaporate
- You shall ferment, age and marinade, when necessary
- You shall prioritize service in the restaurant
- You shall refine food and wine pairings
Research & Development
Since 2013, Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alléno has been carrying out research and development on French cuisine. Through study and experiments, he has been working to modernize, one by one, the pillars that – according to him – provide the foundations of French cuisine. It is part of French cuisine’s renaissance: a journey to the heart of its DNA, in the service of flavour.
The first pillar the chef studied closely was sauces, which he has now perfectly refined with Extractions®, the revolutionary, modern and patented technique he created and patented in 2013.
The second was fermentation, which offers the possibility of studying the “gastronomization of the terroir”.
Sauce is the verb of French cuisine, and has always been its backbone. It brings together the different elements on the plate, and creates coherence and harmony.
Sauces have completely fallen out of favour over the past decades; nevertheless, Yannick Alléno decided to go against the flow and reintegrate them fully into his cuisine, creating recipes that are both remarkably full of flavour and healthy.
This reclamation is the first chapter of Yannick Alléno’s reflection on French cuisine’s renaissance.
In 2013, with the help of Bruno Goussault – scientific director at CREA, a renowned food research centre – Yannick Alléno created Extractions®, a unique, revolutionary process that allows flavours to be concentrated and refined, while bringing them improved texture, a longer finish, and improved minerality.
Until now, flavours were concentrated essentially through evaporation using heat. Extractions® instead saves food from destructive heat, bringing the products to the fore, so they can render and develop their purest flavours. All without adding any fat or other ingredients – except perhaps, water.
Extraction®= cooking at the right temperature + cryo-concentration
Modern sauce = blending of several Extractions®
With his new Extractions® technique, Yannick Alléno believes that a chef’s work takes on a whole new dimension and opens up infinite possibilities, allowing for greater creative freedom.
This first chapter of modern cuisine is explained more fully in a book: Sauces, Reflections of a Chef, (Hachette Cuisine, May 2014).
The story began in 2014, when winemaker Michel Chapoutier told Yannick Alléno: “Only fermented products bring out the true value of their terroir of origin”.
That is when the chef behind the Cuisine Moderne movement understood that terroir is not simply about place and geography, but rather a true signature: the impact soil has on a product.
He also understood that the second chapter of his Reflections of a Chef series would focus on terroirs seen through the lens of fermentation.
He quickly understood two fundamentals. Firstly, fermented products are everywhere in cuisine, even if they are often not identified as such (for example, chocolate, wine, coffee, tea, cheese, ketchup and bread); secondly, fermentation is too often limited to its ancient function of preserving food.
So Yannick Alléno began a series of experiments to analyse the impact of heat on fermented products. This allowed him to understand that only by cooking products at exactly the right temperature can their true gustatory qualities be released. He then discovered that by combining fermentation – which provides a product with energy and “wavelength”– and his revolutionary, taste-revealing technique of Extractions®(detailed in Sauces), he could obtain extraordinarily powerful flavours that were unique and specific to the soil. Just as with wines. Thanks to these experiments, Yannick Alléno can now say with certainty – and prove – that a celeriac grown in the Parisian region does not have the same taste as one grown in Normandy.
More than opening up new culinary horizons, fermentation offers the culmination of culinary art: the “gastronomization” of the terroir.
This second chapter in modern cuisine is explored in Terroirs, Reflections of a Chef, (Hachette Cuisine, July 2016).