France on global charm offensive to teach 'the art of French eating'

AFP/The Local
AFP/The Local - [email protected] • 21 Mar, 2017 Updated Tue 21 Mar 2017 16:18 CEST
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A self-confessed nation of gastronomes, France on Tuesday showcased its famous cuisine by hosting "Good France", a global promotion of its mouthwatering morsels.


Some 2,000 restaurants from Bogota to Wuhan, via Moscow and Kolkata, 71 culinary schools and 150 French embassies are hosting the promotion, a joint initiative by top chef Alain Ducasse and the foreign ministry.
The event, which was first held in 2015 to "pay homage to the excellence of French cuisine," is focusing on training for catering-related industries to promote the French art of eating.
The event gathered international students of the arts of culinary preparation and presentation as the selected restaurants and embassies concocted 1500 innovative "French dinners", for all budgets.
"To speak of French cuisine is to speak of joie de vivre, levity, optimism and pleasure," Ducasse said ahead of the offering, adding such concepts were "central ideas" going to the heart of the French soul.
Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Tuesday that this year's edition of the event prioritised "training in careers related to catering, hotels and tourism," in order to spread the word on the importance of good eating.
Ayrault added that the promotion, inspired by Auguste Escoffier's 1912 Dinners of Epicure project to offer the same menu on the same days in cities across the globe, would "promote gastronomy and thereby France's image as a tourist destination."
Escoffier was a famed chef, restaurateur and writer on all matters relating to haute cuisine who was dubbed the "king of chefs and chef of kings".
Ayrault expressed the hope the promotion would encourage young people "to perpetuate the art of cooking."
Catering students attending the global promotion will be offered internships at French embassies, while in Britain, both French and non-French chefs offered "taste education" sessions at a handful of schools.
In Paris, six of the capital's most renowned catering schools offered some 6,000 nibbles to tourists visiting the Arc de Triomphe.
Last year's edition in France saw more than 200,000 guests regaled with the finest cuisine in 1,700 restaurants and 150 embassies.
While the dishes served up with be French or French-inspired, the vast majority of the chefs were not.
Organisers said they wanted to send out a message of modernity and excellence, while indicating that the non-French chefs were not required in any sense to "renounce their own culinary tradition" but rather "we propose they marry it with French cuisine."



AFP/The Local 2017/03/21 16:18

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