Foreign Minister launches Goût de France 2016
“Goût de France”/“Good France” – Press conference given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development (excerpts)
Paris, 28 January 2016
We’ve come together to launch the second Goût de France operation.
The first Goût de France, in 2015, was – it’s fair to say – a very great success. It owes a great deal to Alain Ducasse, whom I thank again for his active involvement. It allowed us – and this was the goal – to promote our gastronomy on the five continents, in its diversity, from major restaurants to bistros and small, good-quality restaurants. Following last year’s success, we were keen for the operation to be repeated. So it now takes place every year, with the aim of celebrating… (…) We chose the date of 21 March to celebrate not only spring, but also French gastronomy and the values it advances: i.e. excellence, creativity, diversity, conviviality and sharing.
Last year, we brought together more than 1,000 restaurants. This year, we’ve made further progress, since I believe more than 1,500 restaurants will be galvanized to serve Goût de France dinners on every continent. Our ambassadors, who have put a lot of effort into this operation, will also be hosting dinners in our embassies, as was the case last year.
I want to take advantage of our meeting to very warmly thank all the chefs who have agreed to take part in the operation – there are even more of them this year. They’re going to offer menus and recipes honouring French culinary expertise, the diversity of our regions and quality of our produce. (…)
I want to pay tribute to the work done by the whole of our diplomatic network, which often comes up with original Goût de France initiatives that celebrate gastronomy whilst giving access to prestigious venues – often ambassadors’ residences. For instance, to give just one example, our ambassador to Italy will be opening the Palazzo Farnese’s kitchen to three chefs taking part in Goût de France. (…)
I was keen, along with our friends, for this year’s Goût de France to take place not just on the five continents but also – what ideas are we going to have next! – in the air and at sea… So Goût de France meals are going to be served over 24 hours on certain Air France flights and in airport lounges. Moreover, the cruise company Ponant (…) is going to serve dinners in the evening of 21 March (…) in the Grenadines, Belém (Brazil), Cape Verde and Manila. (…)
Goût de France will also provide an opportunity to honour our young chefs, and that’s a priority for us all: we must train even more young people in the tourism trade, particularly the catering industry. A few months ago, those who follow tourism issues may remember I announced the creation of what we called a Conférence des formations d’excellence du tourisme (CFET) [high-level tourism training conference], because we have really first-rate schools but they’re not always showcased enough. So, together with the professionals, we wanted to increase the national and international profile of our top-notch training in gastronomy, hoteliery and tourism. This high-level tourism training conference has now been created and very largely funded. Goût de France must put the emphasis on training. For example, I’ve been told that in South Africa the students of one catering school are going to prepare the dessert for the dinner organized at the embassy, and that in Cyprus the Institut français – our cultural arm – is going to organize a masterclass at the catering school.
This means that through this Goût de France operation, the whole diversity of French gastronomy is really being highlighted and celebrated.
One final word: special attention will be given to our regions and their chefs, not the chefs des régions [regional leaders] but chefs in the sense of the real chefs who are here! It’s an innovation compared with last year. This year I’ve also asked regional prefects to take part in the adventure, because we want to develop the French chefs who work in our country – particularly the youngest and most promising ones – and to honour our regional culinary traditions. We’re already doing so with Atout France – I pay tribute to its president, Philippe Faure – through our contrats de destination (1): many of these highlight the major French gastronomic regions – I’m thinking in particular of the Champagne Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux and Lyon. And we also want to do from this year onwards through Goût de France.
If I had to sum things up, I’d say that Goût de France No.1 was a great success and Goût de France No.2 is going to be an even greater success!
Thanks for being here this morning./.
(1) contracts signed by various stakeholders in French regions, to cooperate on boosting tourism.