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December 18, 2009

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John Whiting

". . . as Tony Bourdain famously noted, the staff best equipped to carry out classical French dishes were Latin Americans, not French."

The low-paid foreigners in the rich kitchens have always been there to provide cheap labor, not ethnic input. Going back as far as the Middle Ages, the peasants who worked in the kitchens took more home in the way of knowledge than they brought -- how many aristocrats were interested in how to make the most of wormy chestnuts (see Graham Robb, "The Discovery of France", Chapter 6)? In present-day Paris, apparently the greater proportion of the skivvies are now Chinese.

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