French cuisine (French: Cuisine française, IPA: [kɥi. zin fʁɑ̃.sɛz]) is a style of food preparation originating from France that has developed from centuries of social change. In the Middle Ages, Guillaume Tirel (a.k.a. Taillevent), a court chef, authored Le Viandier, one of the earliest recipe collections of Medieval France. In the 17th century, La Varenne and the notable chef of Napoleon and other dignitaries, Marie-Antoine Carême, moved toward fewer spices and more liberal usage of herbs and creamy ingredients, signaling the beginning of modern cuisine. Cheese and wine are a major part of the cuisine, playing different roles regionally and nationally, with many variations and appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) (regulated appellation) laws.
French cuisine was codified in the 20th century by Escoffier to become the modern version of haute cuisine; Escoffier, however, left out much of the regional culinary character to be found in the regions of France. Gastro-tourism and the Guide Michelin helped to acquaint people with the rich bourgeois and peasant cuisine of the French countryside starting in the 20th century. Gascon cuisine has also had great influence over the cuisine in the southwest of France. Many dishes that were once regional have proliferated in variations across the country.
Knowledge of French cooking has contributed significantly to Western cuisines and its criteria are used widely in Western cookery school boards and culinary education. In November 2010 the French gastronomy was added by UNESCO to its lists of the world's "intangible cultural heritage" along with Mexican cuisine.