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Minister slams Elysée's cooking as 'disgusting'

Ben McPartland · 28 Mar 2014, 09:43

Published: 28 Mar 2014 09:43 GMT+01:00

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France certainly rolled out the red carpet for the visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping in a bid to do everything it could to impress the leader of the far-eastern giant.

That included a slap-up official meal at the Elysée Palace, where the resident chefs were charged with cooking up the best of what French cuisine had to offer. 

We will probably never know whether the food went down well with Xi himself but one French minister was certainly not impressed.

In an embarassing gaffe Nicole Bricq, minister for foreign commerce, aired her views with Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and his wife Brigitte. Unluckily for her, the conversation was held in the vicinity of dozens of journalists’ microphones.

Bricq said that the meal, which included the famous French delicacy foie gras, a viennoise de champignons, was “dégueulasse”, or disgusting. 

Comparing the cuisine to that served up at the Prime Minister’s residence, known as Matignon, Bricq was heard saying: “I told Brigitte, that really, compared to Matignon, the Elysée doesn’t even come close. It was nowhere near. It was disgusting. You just have to say it."

The video below, released by the Elysée shows the chefs preparing for the no-expense spared state dinner.

For France’s sake we have to hope Xi Jinping did not have the same opinion. The state meal came after he had overseen the signing of €18 billion worth of vital trade deals in France and the French government is desperate for China to increase its investment in France even further.

On the first leg of their trip, in Lyon, XI and his wife Peng Liyuan were treated to sea bass with lobster sauce followed by hay and thyme-flavoured lamb cooked by a selection of France's most celebrated chefs.

It is not known what was on the menu of the state dinner, but on his official Facebook page, Elysee chef Guillaume Gomez appeared to react to Bricq's comments by thanking those who had sent him messages of support.

"Along with the squad, we will continue to do our job with the same passion and the same devotion," he wrote.

One of those messages of support said Bricq was clearly "too spoilt".

"In any case, next week she will be fired. It was her last dinner at the Elysee," the commenter added, referring to the strong likelihood of a government reshuffle after the second round of local elections Sunday in which the ruling Socialists are expected to get trounced.

Story continues below…

Wednesday's state dinner was followed up on Thursday night by an enormous state banquet at Palace of Versailles, where Xi was treated to 18 courses of classic French gastronomy, served up by the country's top chef Alain Ducasse.

The courses rolled out of the kitchen at a rate of one every eight minutes. Click on the link below to see what was on the menu.

The lavish 18-course banquet France served up to Xi Jinping

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

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