Haute cuisine represents cooking and eating carefully prepared food with regular, high-quality ingredients prepared by specialists and commissioned by those who have the financial means to do so. For this reason, primitive haute cuisine was accessible to a small demographic group of rich and powerful people. However, within 20 years, chefs began to return to the previous style of haute cuisine, although many of the new techniques remained. Georges Auguste Escoffier was a central figure in the modernization of haute cuisine starting in 1900, which became known as cuisine classique.
Most culinary institutes and professional cooking schools teach students the basics of haute cuisine, but formal education is usually not required. However, some now use the phrase “haute cuisine” to distinguish any good cuisine, regardless of its origin. In its time, it was considered the pinnacle of haute cuisine and was a different style from bourgeois cuisine (the cuisine of wealthy city dwellers), working-class cuisine in bars and homes, and the cuisine of the French provinces. Nouvelle cuisine was a movement towards conceptualism and minimalism and was a direct juxtaposition with previous haute cuisine styles, which were much more extravagant.
Professional chefs were not only responsible for creating and shaping haute cuisine, but their role in the kitchen was what set it apart from regular French cuisine. Haute cuisine differed from normal French cuisine by what it was cooked and served, by obtaining top quality ingredients, such as fruit out of season, and by using ingredients that are not usually found in France. Haute cuisine is influenced by French cuisine, with elaborate preparations and presentations, which serves small and multiple dishes prepared by a hierarchical kitchen staff, historically in large restaurants and hotels in Europe.