In the 1960s, Americans were putting decades of wars, food rations, fish sticks, casseroles, and TV dinners behind them. Incomes were rising. French cuisine was en vogue and entertaining became a grand affair.

Americans Discover Elegant French Food

Back then, French food and culture were suddenly within reach with jet travel. Jacqueline Kennedy brought a French chef into the White House as Executive Chef. Julia Child wrote Mastering The Art of French Cooking and The French Chef went on the air, giving Americans a taste of French cooking and the confidence to do it themselves.

Housewives served fricassees, gratins, aspics, chocolate mousse, and anything “amandine” at chic dinner parties. Fine dining restaurants were at the height of elegance with menu items like beef wellington, salmon mousse, beef bourguignon, fondue, and flambé.

Beef Wellington Is Back, Baby

The showy, complicated dishes from the 1960s never went away completely, but it’s been some time since we’ve seen a flambé cart or an old-school beef wellington on the menu. Until now.

Chefs are using unexpected and fresh ingredients to create new incarnations of these elegant retro classics. Like so many food trends these days, what’s old is new again…but with a twist.

Elegant Retro Food Trends

FDR’s Chef Katie Sutton can’t help but notice these elegant retro food redos showing up on menus in her hometown, LA, and elsewhere. Here are a few of the most notable.

  • Oxtail Marmalade (Beef on Toast) – FDR Chef Sutton’s Holiday Party
  • Oxtail French Onion Soup (Onion Soup) – The Federal, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Chicken Liver, Onion Jam, Grilled Bread and Apple Vinegar (Liver and Onions) – Hatchet Hall, Culver City, California
  • Fried Chicken Coq Au Vin, (Coq Au Vin) – Convivial, Washington DC
  • Soft Scrambled Eggs and Black Winter Truffles, Soft Scrambled Eggs and Uni, Soft Scrambled Eggs and Black River Osetra Caviar (Eggs on Toast) – Republique, Los Angeles, California
  • Tournedos Rossini- Republique, Los Angeles, California
  • Steak Tartare, Mustard Cream, French Fries, Fried Egg (Steak Tartare) – Marche Moderne, Newport Beach, California
  • Salmon Oscar (Veal Oscar) – Pappadeaux, Maggiano’s, Morey’s, all over US
  • Lobster Wellington (Beef Wellington) – Williams-Sonoma

chef katie sutton


FDR’s Chef Katie Sutton provided these elegant retro food trends. Learn more about Katie’s take on food and beverage trends here.