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Place of originFrance, Vichy or United States of America, New York City (disputed)
Serving temperatureCold
Main ingredientsLeeks, onions, potatoes, cream, chicken stock

Vichyssoise (/ˌvɪʃiˈswɑːz/ VISH-ees-WAHZ; French pronunciation: ​[vi.ʃi.swaz]) is a thick soup made of boiled and puréed leeks, onions, potatoes, cream, and chicken stock. It is traditionally served cold but it can be eaten hot.[1][2]


Recipes for soup made of pureed leeks and potatoes were common by the 19th Century in France. In 19th century cookbooks, and still today, they are often named "Potage Parmentier[3]" or "Potage a la Parmentier[4]" after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, the French nutritionist and scholar who popularized the use of Potatoes in France in the 18th Century. The French military cookbook of 1938 includes a recipe for "Potage Parmentier for 100 men[5]" using milk instead of cream but with proportions and directions that are similar to the recipe for "Vichyssoise Soup" given later by Julia Child.

The origins of the name Vichyssoise are a subject of debate among culinary historians; one version of the story is that Louis XV of France was afraid of being poisoned and had so many servants taste the potato leek soup that, by the time he tried it, the soup was cold, and since he enjoyed it that way it became a cold soup[6], Julia Child called[7] it "an American invention", whereas others observe that "the origin of the soup is questionable in whether it's genuinely French or an American creation".

Louis Diat, a French chef at the Ritz-Carlton in New York City who grew up in Montmarault in the Allier department near the spa resort town of Vichy, is most often credited with its (re)invention.[8][9] In 1950, Diat told The New Yorker magazine:

In the summer of 1917, when I had been at the Ritz seven years, I reflected upon the potato and leek soup of my childhood which my mother and grandmother used to make. I recalled how during the summer my older brother and I used to cool it off by pouring in cold milk and how delicious it was. I resolved to make something of the sort for the patrons of the Ritz.[2]

The same article explains that the soup was first called Crème Vichyssoise Glacée, after the spa town. In 1930 the restaurant's menu changed from French to English, whereupon it was called Cream Vichyssoise Glacée.

Earlier, French chef Jules Gouffé created a recipe for a hot potato and leek soup, publishing a version in Royal Cookery (1869).[10]

In popular culture[edit]

In Batman Returns, Bruce Wayne is served Vichyssoise by Alfred.

In Drake & Josh, Josh Nichols makes up the name "Dr. Vichyssoise."

In The Dick Van Dyke Show, Sally Rogers calls Laura Petrie to ask for her recipe for cold Vichyssoise and date nut bread, in an attempt to distract Laura from watching Rob's television interview on Murdock's X-Ray.

In Nunsense, the 1983 off-Broadway musical, fifty-two nuns in a convent die of food poisoning after eating tainted vichyssoise prepared by their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God. The remaining nuns put on a musical in order to raise money for the funerals.

In A Guide For The Married Man, Paul Manning attempts to throw a fake fit over his wife's boring cooking. When he asks what she's made, his plan is foiled when she reveals she made vichyssoise, casserole cassoulet, mousse a la russe, and Irish coffee.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fox, Eve (24 February 2015). "Warm potato leek soup (vichyssoise)". The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b Hellman, Geoffrey T. (1950). "Talk of the Town". The New Yorker (12/02). Archived from the original on 14 November 2006.
  3. ^ Brisse, Léon (9 June 1867). "Le Baron Brisse". s.n. – via BnF Catalogue général (
  4. ^ "[Menu]".
  5. ^ France. "Administration et comptabilité intérieures des corps de troupes. Ordinaires . Livre de cuisine militaire... Volume mis à la date du..." Charles-Lavauzelle – via BnF Catalogue général (
  6. ^ Claire S. Cabot (16 July 2014). A Short History of Ingredients. Xlibris Corporation. pp. 80–. ISBN 978-1-4990-4630-4.
  7. ^ Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Hard-cover). Alfred A. Knopf. p. 39. ISBN 0-375-41340-5. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
  8. ^ Michael Batterberry; Ariane Batterberry (23 September 1998). On the Town in New York: The Landmark History of Eating, Drinking, and Entertainments from the American Revolution to the Food Revolution. Routledge. pp. 255–. ISBN 978-1-136-76804-0.
  9. ^ Kamp, David. The United States of Arugula, New York: Broadway Books, 2006
  10. ^ "A Cold, Creamy, Luscious Summer Potato & Leek Soup". The Nibble. The Nibble. 9 September 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2017.

External links[edit]