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Posted on February 20, 2020

The French Revolution and The Birth of Fine Dining

Who would have thought political unrest, drought and famine would pave the way for what we now know as fine dining? Indeed, the French Revolution paved the way for modern-day dining of the most exquisite caliber. But how can this be? Don your waistcoat and powder your hair, we’re going on a historical adventure. 

The French Revolution: The Basics

The French Revolution was the turning point of modern European history. It began in 1789 and ended with the ascension of Napoleon Bonaparte in the late 1790s. During this period, French citizens revolted against the current political landscape, causing mass upheaval against the monarchy. 

Not only was it political combativeness, but there was a lot of stress on bakers, butchers, and everyone involved in the food industry as the government regulated the consumption and production of their goods during the revolution. 

King Louis XVI was blamed for the poor economy and met his fate by guillotine. And, unfortunately for his wife Marie Antoinette, she never got a chance to eat her cake because she kissed death in the same fashion. 

The bloodbath was supposed to bring about quite a bit of change. Though not all goals were achieved, it did show the world the power of the people. Napoleon took charge of a bloodstained France and thus, began the Napoleonic era. 

But how did political upheaval pave the way for fine dining? Think back on those bakers and butchers. 

A New France for Fine Dining

With the monarchy displaced and aristocratic households evolving, many chefs that catered to the wealthy and elite were looking for new avenues for their skills. Instead of working for one family, they now would cook for private parties to give the elegant experience to more individuals. And those bakers, butchers, and cheese markers? They were free to run their own business as they choose, including opening up dining establishments. 

Before the French Revolution, less than 50 restaurants existed in Paris. But with more individuals in the food industry on hand, the roles adapted from culinary visionaries to entrepreneurs. By 1814, there were 3,000 restaurants in the city of love. 

But, according to Larousse Gastronomique, the French culinary encyclopedia, “the first Parisian restaurant worthy of the name was the one founded by Beauvilliers in 1782 in the Rue de Richelieu, called the Grande Taverne de Londres.”

French eateries continued to evolve, with the peak being the throwing of Napoleon. In the 19th century, wealthy Europeans frequented the gourmet establishments, especially Allied officers, until the end of the war. 

By the end of the 19th century, cafés grew in popularity. At this time, France also experimented with travel, dining and luxury accommodations, all in one place. And hence, fine dining was born.

Kevin’s Restaurant: Fine Dining at Its Finest

When it comes to fine dining, it’s all about the experience and food. If you want the best customer service, the highest quality of ingredients, and a night that you won’t soon forget, treat yourself to an evening at Kevin’s! Make your reservations today! (No revolution required.)

We look forward to serving you at all of our fine establishments:

The Beaumont Inn

The River Street Jazz Cafe

Grico’s;

Kevin’s

Cork Bar & Restaurant

Le Manhattan Bistro

Fire and Ice

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