Master Chiquart’s culinary treatise Du fait de cuisine.
The manuscript S 103, kept at the Médiathèque du Valais in Sion, is the only known copy of François Chiquart's culinary treatise. This last is the queux master (magister "who commands", coquus "cook") of the duke of Savoy Amédée VIII at the beginning of 15th century.
In 1420, the sovereign of the Savoy States ordered his cook to put in writing his culinary skills and his knowledge in terms of banquet preparation. At a time when manuscripts were still very expensive, this decision was not intended to highlight a trade, but rather to have the dignity and legitimacy of the House of Savoy, recently elevated to the status of a duchy, recognized and to keep in mind the prodigious banquets given on great occasions.
The text is dictated to a scribe named Jehan de Dudens, who presents himself as a bourgeois and Annecy cleric in the introduction. The manuscript, composed of 122 sheets of paper, is divided into three distinct parts: the preparation of a banquet, the recipes organized into menus, and a ballad of thanks accompanied by learned quotations.
Master Chiquart describes four banquets-spectacles where pomp takes a central place, whether through a complex ceremonial or an extreme search for dishes (birds covered with their plumage after cooking, gold powder, luxurious crockery, spectacular entremets...) Everything is done to highlight the brilliance of the court of Savoy.
This manuscript, generously lent by the Médiathèque du Valais, is on display at the Château de Chillon™ from 14 September 2018 to 28 April 2019 as part of the temporary exhibition Water in your mouth – Drinking and eating in the Middle Ages.
Du fait de cuisine
Médiathèque du Valais, Sion