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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

A dissertation submitted to Technological University Dublin in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Arts in Gastronomy and Food Studies, May 2021.

A paper based on this thesis was presented at the 2022 Dublin Gastronomy Symposium.


This thesis examines the history and the current practices (popularity, service styles, and recipes) of the Provencal dish bouillabaisse. It aims to establish the evolution and the traditional characteristics of the dish. It also explores the historical and contemporary popularity as well as the everyday role that bouillabaisse plays in the regional identity of Provencal cooking. Finally, the research questions if bouillabaisse would benefit from a European Union quality schemes protection or official recognition by UNESCO. This research uses an exploratory sequential mixed methods model combining qualitative and quantitative data collection which are analysed in a sequence of phases. The primary data was collected through a combination of questionnaires and interviews, and combined with the analysis of manuscripts and printed cookbooks using Wheaton’s methodology. The results show that bouillabaisse’s main transformation occurred at the turn of the nineteenth century when the dish’s status was elevated in order to appeal to the upper-classes. The results also show that the codification of the dish created two predominant styles of bouillabaisse; one anchored in its place of origin, Provence, and another that permitted the dish to travel beyond France. Towards the end of the twentieth century, bouillabaisse became unpopular as a household meal, resulting in the development in Marseille of a new invented tradition where it is now local custom to eat bouillabaisse in restaurants on Sundays and special occasions. Additional findings note that bouillabaisse could benefit from a European Union quality schemes protection or being inscribed on UNESCO's list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Although these processes might prove to be difficult, the notable characteristics of the dish combined with the new tradition, would suggest an eventual possibility.