What is the culture of French food?

French cuisine has evolved extensively over the centuries. Starting in the Middle Ages, a unique and creative national cuisine began forming. Various social movements, political movements, and the work of great chefs came together to create this movement. Through the years the styles of French cuisine have been given different names, and have been codified by various master-chefs. During their lifetimes these chefs have been held in high regard for their contributions to the culture of the country. The national cuisine developed primarily in the city of Paris with the chefs to French royalty, but eventually it spread throughout the country and was even exported overseas.

France's famous Haute Cuisine ("high cuisine") has foundations during the 17th century with a chef named La Varenne. As author of works such as Cvisinier françois, he is credited with publishing the first true French cookbook. His book includes the earliest known reference to roux using pork fat. The book contained two sections, one for meat days, and one for fasting. His recipes marked a change from the style of cookery known in the Middle Ages, to new techniques aimed at creating somewhat lighter dishes, and more modest presentations of pies as individual pastries and turnovers.

Late 18th century-19th century the revolution was integral to the expansion of French cuisine, because it effectively abolished the guilds. This meant that any one chef could now produce and sell any culinary item he wished. The era of the French Revolution, however, saw a move toward fewer spices and more liberal usage of herbs and refined techniques

French cuisine was codified in the 20th century by Georges Auguste Escoffier to become the modern version of Haute cuisine. Escoffier's major work, however, left out much of the regional character to be found in the provinces of France. Gascon cuisine has also been a great influence over the cuisine in the southwest of France.

Ingredients and dishes vary by region. There are many significant regional dishes that have become both national and regional. Many dishes that were once regional have proliferated in variations across the country. Cheeses and wine are a major part of the cuisine, playing different roles regionally and nationally with their many variations and Apellation d'origine controlée (AOC) (regulated appellation) laws.