Sustainable food on the menu in Goût de France 2019
Gastronomy – Press conference for the launch of Goût de France/Good France 2019 – Speech by M. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs
Paris, 21 February 2019
Minister, cher Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne,
Cher Philippe Faure,
Cher Alain Ducasse,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I’m very happy to be hosting you at the Quai d’Orsay to outline to you the fifth Operation Goût de France/Good France, which will be held from 21 to 24 March.
Again this year, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs is actively working to tell the whole world how excellent our gastronomy is and how talented our chefs are.
First of all, our influence abroad depends on it, because when our cuisine travels it carries with it something of what we are.
Since 2015, Goût de France has established itself as a date that can’t be ignored by anyone who wants to celebrate this incalculable part of our heritage or who wants to get to know it better.
Every year, thousands of restaurants around the world – be they small, quality diners or renowned establishments – agree to revisit and sometimes enhance our specialities, with the support of our whole diplomatic network.
During Goût de France, the whole French way of life is played out and exemplified in our embassies, our consulates, our Instituts français and the offices of our operator Atout France, and we’re also keen to put the conviviality integral to our gastronomy at the centre of our events.
Several initiatives will demonstrate this to you. We’ve also been concerned to ensure that our cuisine reflects our values.
That’s why Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne and I have wanted the event to keep changing – obviously without lessening its quality –, because our cuisine can’t be reduced to the sumptuous image people sometimes have of it. French gastronomy is about, first of all, a philosophy of sharing and solidarity. For example, in Hong Kong, meal trays will be distributed to low-paid workers, some of whom aren’t familiar with our cuisine at all and will be discovering it for the first time. French-style meals will be served at canteens in disadvantaged districts of Caracas, at a time when Venezuela is still suffering the serious humanitarian crisis we’re aware of. Refugees in Hamburg will be invited to prepare and savour a large meal from the south of France. And finally, our consulate in Chicago will be organizing a charity dinner, with all the money raised to be invested in an organization promoting healthy food accessible to all through educational and cultural programmes. A variety of innovations, then.
We also wanted Goût de France 2019 to testify to our commitment and that of our chefs to protecting the planet and to sustainable development. So we wanted to make this new Goût de France exemplify responsible cuisine, and we issued a simple challenge: to provide, on 21 March, a French-style menu, of course, but also one that respects the environment. This challenge will be taken up in thousands of restaurants in 150 countries; on 6 March you’ll find a list of them on the website www.goodfrance.com.
While our gastronomy allows us to project our culture and values around the world, it’s also one of the keys to our country’s seductiveness to international visitors: no fewer than a third of them say they come to France to discover our cuisine and our wines!
Last year, as you know, we welcomed nearly 90 million foreign tourists. Our challenge is to remain the world’s leading tourist destination and hit the target of 100 million visitors in 2020! And I’m convinced that in order for tourism to develop in France the diversity of our regions must be highlighted, and conversely that in order for our regions to develop they must attract tourists. That’s why, every year in Operation Goût de France, we’re keen to put the spotlight on one region, because there’s not just one Destination France but as many destinations as there are unique and charming stories in our regions. Through this event, we want to tell the world about these stories.
This year, it’s the turn of Provence and its irresistible southern flavours! All over the planet, we’ll make sure those flavours are known and recognized. In New York, for example, a festival will be organized to give Mediterranean products and dishes pride of place for several days in various cultural spots in the city.
We chose Provence for the vitality of its gastronomy. More and more young chefs are settling there – in particular in Marseille and the surroundings, at the crossroads of the cultural influences that so enrich the region – in order to develop a reinvented and responsible French cuisine. I’m also aware that people are very excited the launch of Goût de France there, because our operation will mark the start of a year of gastronomical festivities in the Bouches-du-Rhône.
Of course, our fellow citizens and visitors will also join in the party.
In France, from 21 to 24 March, professionals from all our regions will share with them their love of fine dishes and flawless technique, in workshops and tastings. That too is what French gastronomy means to us: a particular way of meeting others and passing on experience.
In our primary and secondary schools, awareness-raising activities will be organized about responsible food, a theme which will also be at the centre of a seminar to be held at UNESCO on 23 March.
So it’s a great joy for me to find more of you at this event every year. I see it as a sign of what, Ambassador, you could call taste diplomacy, which we’re inventing with each Goût de France. I see it as a sign that that taste diplomacy now arouses not just curiosity but, if I may say so, quite an appetite!
In a moment, a few of the chefs who are doing us the kindness and honour of devoting a little – and sometimes a lot – of their time and energy to our initiative will tell you themselves what they’re expecting of Goût de France 2019. I want to thank everyone with us today, and all those people in all four corners of the world who, in exactly a month’s time, will be answering our call. I’d like to pay special tribute to Alain Ducasse, whose support every year is absolutely invaluable to us, as well as Guy Savoy and Ambassador Philippe Faure, without whom this event would never have seen the light of day.