What Is Garde Manger

What Is Garde Manger

The History of Garde Manger

Garde manger is one of those terms that refer to so many things it is difficult to know where to begin talking about it. Not only does it refer to a cooking position in the traditional French kitchen brigade, it also refers to the station or area of the kitchen where those cooks prepare and store their food, as well as to the type of food they create. So literally, a garde manger works at the garde manger preparing garde manger. If you aren't totally confused yet, or even if you are, read on and hopefully it will all start to become clearer.

In contemporary terms, garde manger refers to that part of a service kitchen that is responsible for preparing appetizers, namely cold food items and is often referred to as the pantry. The term translates as"keep to eat" and dates back to the Middle Ages when the households of nobility and the very wealthy had a designated space dedicated to food that was being stored to be eaten at a later time. The areas themselves were referred to as garde manger and were typically located under ground where the temperature was naturally cooler and provided a better environment for food storage.

Household employees, known as garde mangers or stewards, were responsible for maintaining the garde manger area and prepared, stocked, and distributed all of the food that was stored there. As food resources began to increase, due to improved hunting and farming practices and the domestication of animals, it became necessary for them to acquire new preservation and storage techniques. Much of the food on hand needed to be prepared in such a way that it could be held and consumed throughout the year without spoiling. Stewards used numerous techniques including curing, smoking, brining, drying, pickling, and canning to ensure that the food they were responsible for would last until it was ready to be eaten. They became proficient in new techniques and also adapted existing techniques for making sausage, pates, and even cheese.

As the proficiency of their stewards increased, many people saw an opportunity to make a profit from their employee's skills as well as their larder. Thus emerged the practice of selling, buying, and trading these homemade goods. As commerce in this area grew, it became necessary for the government to intervene to preserve integrity and ensure the safety of the food that was being prepared and sold.

Specialized professions emerged outside of the home from this new form of commerce, and as specific guidelines were laid out, workers began refining their craft accordingly. From this grew trade guilds, which developed systems that set standards for workmanship and the price of goods and protected businesses and employees. Guilds were designed so that each member went through the same training process, beginning with an apprenticeship and culminating in the mastery of the craft. Trained guildsmen started to open their own specialty shops and with that came the availability of those highly sought-after products that were previously difficult to acquire if one was not wealthy enough to be able to afford a garde manger of their own.

The onset of the French Revolution brought about a good deal of change. As the war began, many wealthy homeowners were forced to flee their homes leaving their household staff members behind to fend for themselves. As wealthy households toppled, countless garde mangers suddenly found themselves out of work and many flocked to restaurants and hotels to seek employment in a field where they could use their already well honed skills. Their knowledge of food handling, storage, and preparation made them easily employable and a welcome asset to most establishments. It was at this time that the garde manger station and position were developed in professional kitchens and where the modern garde manger and pantry stations find their roots.

About the Author

After receiving degrees from the University of Wisconsin and the Culinary Institute of America, Andrea Rappaport moved into a full-time career in the restaurant business. For over 12 years, she worked in various culinary jobs, including as a cook for Wolfgang Puck at Spago, and ultimately as the executive chef and partner of the highly revered San Francisco restaurant Zinzino. For the past seven years, Andrea has worked as the private chef for one family in the San Francisco area, and continues to expand her culinary portfolio by catering, teaching, and consulting.

Browse Culinary Arts Schools & Colleges

Refine School Matches
Hide filters
  • SUBJECT Clear All

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
            Show more [+]
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
            Show more [+]
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
            Show more [+]
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Has been training students in the culinary arts since 1946.
            • Teaches hands-on culinary training in French, Asian, Mediterranean, Latin and American cooking, along with professional baking and pastry techniques.
            • Helps students gain professional skills in culinary management.
            • Offers an Italian Culinary Arts program where students get to externship in Italy.
            • Its instructors are respected chefs who put their dedication and life experiences into their instruction.
            Show more [+]
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            1 Program(s) Found

            Lackawanna College is the premier, private, accredited two-year college serving the people of northeastern Pennsylvania. With a focus on keeping higher education affordable and accessible to our immediate community, Lackawanna draws 80 percent of its student population right from our own region.

            With a main campus situated in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna’s expanding footprint also includes satellite centers in Hawley, Hazleton, New Milford, and Towanda.

            SPEAK TO AN ADVISOR 1.844.285.6104