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Cooks and Chefs

History

The art of cookery is as ancient as the history of humankind. The early Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans valued cooks as highly respected members of society.

France has given the world some of the finest cooks and chefs. Historical records reflect the avid interest the French people have in the art of cookery. Even today, cooks and chefs who are skilled in the art of French cuisine are highly valued and work in some of the world's most luxurious hotels and restaurants.

The hostelries of early America provided food and rest for weary travelers. Although these inns and taverns sometimes employed cooks specially hired from outside the proprietor's family, the food was often marginal in quality. It was not until hotels were built in the large cities that the occupation of cook developed into a profession.

The pleasure of dining out has become big business in the United States. The public has a range of choices—from the simplest, most inexpensive meal to the most expensive and elaborate. Whether a restaurant prides itself on "home cooking" or on exotic foreign cuisine, its cooks and chefs are largely responsible for the reputation it acquires.