Saybra Giles
Michel Escoffier pictured with his august forbearer, August Escoffier.
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The Escoffier Way

Carolyn Jung / February 19th, 2013

Among the newest cooking schools to open in the United States is one that bears perhaps the most revered culinary name of all time: Escoffier.

Author of the seminal Le Guide Culinaire, who instigated not only the brigade system in the professional kitchen but the serving of food in successive courses, Auguste Escoffier has long been regarded as the father of modern French cuisine. His techniques are still taught far and wide. Now comes the Auguste Escoffier Schools of Culinary Arts, which aim to incorporate his methods and principles with such contemporary philosophies as farm-to-table and sustainable practices.

“We have the best name in all of culinary arts,” says Paul Ryan, president of the Escoffier schools, which opened campuses in the summer of 2010 in Boulder, Colorado, and Austin, Texas. More than 1,200 students have since enrolled.

Another 700 have signed up for the Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy—billed as the first-ever online culinary school—which debuted in June 2012. It offers a culinary fundamentals program as well as a baking and pastry program, each of which includes interactive learning modules, video tutorials, and one-on-one mentor review.

Jeremiah Tower, the pioneer of California cuisine, was just named a new advisory board member for the schools. Appropriately enough, Tower’s newest e-book, A Dash of Genius, is all about how Escoffier influenced his own life. Tower admits he initially wondered just how relevant Escoffier remains today. But after conducting an online search and seeing Escoffier’s name pop up so many times, Tower says, “In a way, he is still alive. I realized just what a vital force he still is.”

The schools were opened in partnership with Triumph Higher Education Group of Chicago and the Auguste Escoffier Foundation and Museum in France. Michel Escoffier, great-grandson of Escoffier and president of the foundation, notes that royalties from the schools will help support the museum and foundation.

“My great-grandfather always wanted to teach and motivate young people,” Michel Escoffier says. “He would be very amazed and very proud to see this now.”