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French word of the day: Cuistot

If you are a food lover, or if you know someone who is, this French expression may come in handy.

French word of the day: Cuistot
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond

Why do I need to know cuistot?

Because it will expand your culinary vocabulary, which in France is pretty important.

What does it mean?

Cuistot is French slang for cuisinier – 'chef' or 'cook'.

It's a bit colloquial, but very common way to describe “a person whose profession is to cook,” according to French online dictionary l'Internaute.


The last t is silent, so you pronounce it 'quisto'. There's a female version, cuistote (pronounced 'quistot'), but it's not widely used. 

Cuistot is often found in names of restaurants, like Cuistot Grill, Le Cuistot, Petit Cuistot etc.


Cuistot is derived from cuisinier, and according to the French online slang dictionary Langue Francaise, it originated in the military back in the late 1800s.

Use it like this

C'est un cuistot exceptionnel, capable de transformer des restes en un plat délicieux. – An exceptional cook, capable of turning leftovers into a delicious meal.

Je dirais que les cuistots français sont parmiles meilleurs du monde. – I'd say French chefs are among the best in the world.

Elle adore faire le cuistot quand on a des invités, elle fait des plats incroyables. Mais pendant la semaine on mange des trucs congelés, quoi. – She loves playing the chef when we have guests, she makes amazing dishes. But during the week we eat frozen things, you know.

C'est moi le cuisto aujourd'hui ! Sors de là. – I'm the cook today! Get out of here.


Chef – chef

Cuisinier – cook 

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For members


French Expression of the Day: Les grands esprits se rencontrent

Though this phrase has a close English equivalent, it's just so much more poetic in French

French Expression of the Day: Les grands esprits se rencontrent

Why do I need to know les grands esprits se rencontrent?

Because you might want to use this phrase the next time you and a friend have the same idea for how to spend vacation.

What does it mean?

Les grands esprits se rencontrent – usually pronounced lay grand eh-spreets suh rahn-cahn-truh – literally translates to “the great minds meet each other” or “the great spirits meet each other.” More appropriately, the very poetic phrase in French translates to the English expression “great minds think alike.” 

For the French phrase, it actually finds its origins with Voltaire. In 1760, he wrote a letter to another well-known French writer at the time and included the phrase: “Les beaux esprits se rencontrent” (the beautiful minds meet each other) to emphasise the fact that both expressed the same idea at the same time.

Over time, the phrase switched from ‘beautiful’ minds to ‘great’ minds, but the meaning remains the same. The phrase is usually said ironically in French, and can be used more or less interchangeably with the English version of this expression (which curiously has different origins altogether). However, sadly, the French version does not include the snarky reply: “and fools seldom differ” 

Use it like this

J’avais envie de pizza pour le dîner mais je lui ai demandé ce qu’il voulait quand même et il a dit pizza. Les grands esprits se rencontrent ! – I was wanting pizza for dinner, but I asked him what he wanted anyways, and he said pizza. Great minds think alike!

Nous pensons tous deux que la vue de Paris depuis le Belvédère de Belleville est la meilleure de la ville. Les grands esprits se rencontrent. – We both think that the view of Paris from Belvédère de Belleville is the best of the city. Great minds think alike.