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La Varenne was one of the great chefs and culinary writers of the 17th century. It is believed that he learned to cook in the kitchens of Marie de Medicis, wife of Henry IV of France.
While in charge of the kitchens of the Marquis d'Uxelles, he created mushroom duxelles, wrote one of the first systematically planned books on cooking, with recipes listed in alphabetical order, 'La Cuisinier François' (1651). It also included many recipes for vegetables, some of the first written instructions on vegetable cooking.
One of the basic tenets of French cuisine was established: the purpose of cooking and the use of spices and seasonings was to bring out and enhance the natural flavors of foods, not to disguise their flavor.
Instead of using bread as a thickener for sauces, roux made from flour and butter (or other animal fat) took its place.
He also wrote 'Le Patissier François' and 'Le Confiseur François.' His books have been used for centuries, especially 'Le Cuisinier François' and many of his recipes are still being used today.
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