November 18: National Vichyssoise Day

Vichyssoise (pronounced vee-shee-swahz), a summer soup, has its own national food holiday strangely scheduled in an off season—fall. While it may have a fancy French name, the simple potato-and-leeks cream soup was invented in America. French chef Louis Diat, who worked at the Ritz-Carlton in New York in the early 1900s, was inspired to create vichyssoise in the hotel kitchen from a similar soup that he ate as a child in his hometown, Montmarault, near Vichy in France. His recipe is traditionally served chilled, but we like vichyssoise warmed up for an autumn appetizer. Whether eaten hot or cold, enjoy potato-and-leeks cream soup on National Vichyssoise Day.


(Adapted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child and Soup Song)


  • 3-4 leeks
  • 4 medium potatoes (old potatoes recommended)
  • 2 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 3 cups water or chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • salt and white pepper to taste
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • chives or parsley (optional garnish)


Wash the leeks thoroughly and slice the white parts about an inch thick. Clean, peel and dice the potatoes. In a large pot, melt the butter over low heat. Saute the leeks until wilted but not browned. Turn up the heat and add the potatoes, chicken stock and milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil then lower the heat to simmer for 30 minutes. Let the soup cool to room temperature.


Puree the soup in batches in a blender. Pour into a container, cover and refrigerate. Before serving, stir the cream into the soup and mix thoroughly. Ladle into soup bowls. Garnish with chives or parsley.



  • We used a variety of leftover potatoes for this recipe. Older potatoes yield a starchy and sweeter taste. Chicken stock also adds richness to the soup than water and has enough salt for flavor. The whipping cream mixed into the cooled soup lightens the color of the vichyssoise for an elegant presentation.
  • Search our blog for other potato and soup recipes.