Although public eateries existed as far back as Ancient Rome and the Sung Dynasty in China, today’s modern restaurants originated in 18th century France. The word, Restaurant comes from the French word, restaurer which means “to restore”. Early establishments were built as a place where people could come restore their energy and strength. The establishments weren’t fancy nor did they have tables with linens. They were basically rooms where someone could come and consume meats that would restore one’s health, especially when someone wasn’t feeling well.
The modern Café originated in Constantinople in the 1500’s and served as a place where educated people could come meet. Coffee was big in Constantinople, so the term coffee house translated into café.
During the French Revolution restaurants evolved into something like today’s establishments where food and drink were served. One of the first restauranteurs was a man by the name of Boulanger, who opened a spot near the Louvre where people could stop and restore their health. Another restaurant called the Grand Taverne de Londres was opened by Beauvilliers in 1782. Until this moment in history, meals weren’t prepared for individuals by a chef. Patrons ate what was offered. Beauvilliers and Boulanger created the first menus with dishes that could be prepared individually by a chef.
History’s first sommeliers came from the same time period. The word, sommelier came from a French word that was for designated court servants who were responsible for transporting supplies. Over time, the word evolved to represent a steward who was responsible for stocking and serving wine, beer and spirits. Today, a sommelier needs to know what the wines in their restaurant taste like and be familiar with how the wines would pair with foods. Sommeliers also need to be familiar with beers, cigars, spirits and represent a high level of service.
I became a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers because I wanted to be an educator, a student, a servant and a reference for wine+food. Hope you find this information useful for the next time you’re dining out. Happy dining!