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Gens experts & non suspects: Recipe Transmission in the World of Professional Parisian Cooks, Charcutiers, and Caterers, 1475-1599

Gens experts & non suspects: Recipe Transmission in the World of Professional Parisian Cooks, Charcutiers, and Caterers, 1475-1599

Paper by Ryan Whibbs

Given at The Culinary Recipe from the XIIth to the XVIIth centuries symposium, in May 2021

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Excerpt: Between 1475-1599, the guilds of Paris were undergoing a period of reorganization. In particular, Paris’s foodservice guilds were undergoing a great deal of change with respect to government, professional identities, and shared skill sets. While cooks, bakers, butchers, and other foodservice guilds existed since the Middle Ages, economic scale and opportunities to better serve Paris’s citizens and tradespeople caused continual revision of Parisian guild charters during the late-fifteenth and early-sixteenth centuries. This paper examines guild charters and royal proclamations made in the City of Paris, focusing especially on the Rôtisseurs (Public Cookshop Chefs, est.1258), Charcutiers (Pork and Sausage Chefs, est.1475), and Cuisiniers (Royal and Noble Household Chefs, est.1599) as transcribed in Nicholas de la Mare’s 1719 Traité de la police. In addition to evolving professional identities, 1475-1599 represents a period when two new foodservice guilds – the Charcutiers and Cuisiniers – challenged each other, and the older and more established Rôtisseurs, to convey a specific sense of what it meant to belong to their respective crafts during periods of apprenticeship.

Ryan Whibbs is an Academic Chair at the Manitoba Institute of Culinary Arts. Click here to see his LinkedIn profile.

To see more from this symposium, please visit the CoReMA website

Top Image: Cooking over the hearth. The carcass of a rabbit is hanging from a hook on the wall. Barthélémy l’Anglais, Le Livre des propriétés des choses, 15th century. Paris, Biblioteque nationale Département des manuscrits, Français 218, folio 373

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