Vichyssoise Soup

This internationally known (but not universally admired – see below) soup was invented by chef Louis Diat of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in New York in the early 1920s. The French country soup known as potage parmentier must have been the inspiration for this soup which reminded Diat of his boyhood days in Vichy. Vichyssoise is eaten cold.


  • 4 potatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 2 oz (50 g) butter
  • 4 leeks, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • Sea salt and white pepper
  • 2⅓ pints (1.25 litres) chicken stock
  • ½ pint (275 ml) cream
  • Chopped chives


Melt the butter and add the leeks (from which you have removed the coarse green parts) and the onion. Allow to soften over a very low heat for about 10 minutes and then season and add the potatoes. Cook gently for a further 5 minutes and then pour on the chicken stock. Leave to simmer for about 45 minutes.

Purée the mixture in a food processor, put through a sieve into a clean bowl and allow to rest in the fridge overnight or for some hours. Before serving, stir in the cream and sprinkle with chives.

‘Potato soup. What wonderful stuff, and how likely you’ve never had it – not vichyssoise which isn’t potato soup at all, just a buttery-bland mouthful of weightless-seeming luxury for rich folk to start their gorging on …’

From Simple Cooking by John Thorne, 1987.