Food Forgotten Part IV – Hierarchy

Perhaps one of the single most important elements in judging cuisine is distinguishing the importance of tradition and placing it in a hierarchy. It isn’t about personal preferences, and it isn’t always subjective. It’s based on my premise that foods have their own hierarchy, a layering. A food becomes characterized by both its importance and use in forming a recipe. The components of a food are a hierarchical and each chef uses them as tools to build recipes.

Sophistication and layering is part of the process that divides and conquers hierarchy. I truly think that Ferran was searching and building order, he was a composer of hierarchy.

Without any order all food preparations would be considered to be the identical. This notion was sparked by one of the most ridiculous arguments I’ve had in a longtime. It was about the complexity of preparing an Indian curry with Indian gentlemen. He argued that his mothers curry preparation/technique is as sophisticated as French haute cuisine.

While in original traditional curry requires a precise selection of spices but it’s a matter of regional tradition, religious practice, and preference. Anyone can make a curry if they can read a recipe, and even if they cannot, they can still make a decent curry.

This is a good example of how a person is easily confused about the differences between personal ideas, taste preferences and lack of knowledge. It is true that curry ranks top within Indian culture, and his Mother’s curry is excellent, and possibly takes days to cook but it’s a single dish curry.

But in terms of complexity, it’s a simple commonplace dish, a universal dish made by millions of people. In France, many cook, but few home chefs would venture the culinary challenge of haute cuisine. It’s a class of food that ranks amongst the top in the world. But not everyone can make haute cuisine even if they have a recipe. It requires some formal training in classical techniques and plenty of practice. French haute cuisine is very challenging, not to mention the complexities, process and understanding it takes.