France’s great gastrocrats

A magnificent new compendium of French cuisine edited by François-Régis Gaudry examines its great figures and iconic recipes. Here we present a round-up of legendary food writers and their must-read works, plus we provide three classic recipes to recreate


The “gastrocrats” are the men and women of pen and fork in France who generate and deconstruct discourse on French cuisine.

Food critic Emmanuel Rubin dissects this amusing group...



Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908–2009)

The four volumes of Mythologiques (Le Cru et le Cuit; Du miel aux cendres; L’Origine des manières de table; L’Homme nu) establish the relationship of foods from an ethno-philosophical perspective, eager to shed

light on the question “What is humanity?” A monumental work.

Les Mythologuiqes (Editions Plon)

Jean-François Revel (1924–2006)

A brilliant and iconoclastic thinker and essayist, Revel in 1979 publishes this scholarly examination of gastronomy from ancient times to present day. The book is a landmark for its then-unprecedented way of understanding this subject through a literary perspective and a lens of sensitivity.

Un festin en paroles (Éditions Texto)

Michel Onfray (1959)

Onfray introduces his works by establishing gastronomy as a field of philosophical reflection in its own right. He developed the idea of a contemporary hedonism and founded the Université Populaire du Goût (the Popular University of Taste), a private university that re-establishes the epicurean way of eating. 

La Raison gourmande (Grasset)


Rabelais (about 1494–1553)

Through the genius of his words and through comedy, the humanist Rabelais creates an epic literary monument that taps into the whims ...

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