I would have to say:non. If you cook a la Julia Child, who was writing for American cooks remember, it IS time-consuming. That is because you have to make all the stuff French people buy: bread, pate, and the like.
Our fanciest dinner was at the home of Francoise and Herve. Here is the menu:
--melon, baked prunes and prosciutto
--lamb chops and zucchini tian
Oh, bliss in the recollection of this beautifully composed meal. Note, however, the no-work elements in this fancy menu.
Then there are the dishes that require some labor. The prunes take almost no time. Lamb chops take no work, just timing. The zucchini for the tian were probably sliced on a mandoline, and then layered with cream and cheese, and then baked. The crumble consisted of sliced apricots topped with an easy mix of crumbs and sugar.
This did involve a goodly amount of work. But much less than I used to spend on my over-complex dinner parties in the days when I did such things.
We ate in a beautiful garden with our hosts and their nice teenaged sons, Julien and Vincent.
Thanks to our hosts for a lovely meal, good conversation, and an example of graceful and seemingly stress-free entertaining.
Any tips for simple, elegant cooking?