(new cooking) came about in the 1960s as an attempt on the part of classically trained chefs
to produce simpler, less heavy dishes than the traditional flour-based gravies and overcooked, stodgy
ingredients. Over the past 100 years or so, there have been two approaches concerning cooking
that produced nouvelle cuisine.
The first approach has been to simplify dishes, using lighter ingredients, reducing cooking times, and emphasizing the natural flavour of the ingredients rather than covering them over with heavy sauces.
The second approach has been to encourage the artistic abilities of the chef, which sometimes results in elaborate, fussy arrangements of food and inevitably leads to complex kitchen procedures.
A combination of the two gave rise to nouvelle cuisine, and it was immensely popular until the 1980s. But it has since changed form and many of the earlier excesses have dropped away. Some people say that nouvelle cuisine is dead, but in reality, it is just the use of the phrase that has died out. Its principles have been taken up and woven into other styles of cooking and presentation.
So, you can thank nouvelle cuisine for the advent of fresher, lighter ingredients, and for the absurdity of being presented a plate full of food piled so precariously in a vertical column (viagra food) that you can’t eat it without making a terrible mess.
Sources: Adapted from “Le Cordon Bleu: Professional Cooking” and “Larousse Gastronomique”