Traiteur (culinary profession)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the French Chef/caterer. For other uses, see Traiteur (disambiguation).
Étal de charcutier-traiteur.JPG

The traiteur (French pronunciation: ​[tʁɛ.tœʁ]) in French history represents the origins of today's restaurant. Prior to the late 18th century, diners who wished to "dine out" would visit their local guild member's kitchen and have their meal prepared for them. However, guild members were limited to producing whatever their guild registry delegated them to.[1] These guild members offered food in their own homes to steady clientele that appeared day-to-day but at set times. Patrons called their guild member their traiteur. The guest would be offered the meal table d'hôte, which is a meal offered at a set price with very little choice of dishes, sometimes none at all.[2]

Today in France, a traiteur is a catering business devoted to take-out food and service of banquets. Many traiteurs also undertake home delivery. Generally there is no seating on the business premises; a few traiteurs may have very limited seating. Especially in market towns where there is competition, traiteurs take great pride in the beauty of their window displays. Traiteur 'departments' are now common in supermarchés, the equivalent of the US/UK delicatessen. The staple of this type of business is an array of salads, cold meat and seafood dishes. In France today, it's a 900 million-euro business involving 1,250 companies.[3]

The word is cognate with the Italian trattoria.


  1. ^ Spang, 8-10.
  2. ^ Spang, 30-31.
  3. ^ Fedèle, P. et Bravo, E.


Spang, Rebecca L. (2001). The Invention of the Restaurant. (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-00685-0. 

Fedèle, P.; Bravo, E. (September 2006). "Traiteurs Organisateurs Réceptions: La mutation s'acceélère (Traiteurs and Caterers: The pace of change quickens)". Neo Restauration (434).