19 March 2015: Gout de France - Good France
On the last winter day, French gastronomy will be put in the spotlights in a worldwide event. Gout de France (see the pun, if you say that quickly it sounds like 'Good France'!) is an initiative of the French foreign affairs minister who after the declaration of French gastronomy as Unesco Heritage also wanted to celebrate and promote this rewarding title all over the world.
It is all happening on Thursday 19th March: 1000 chefs, in 5 continents with 1000 different menus. The event is inspired by Les Dîners d'Épicure that the famous French chef Auguste Escoffier organised in 1912: the same menu, the same day in different cities. Escoffier also wanted to spread the excellence of French gastronomy in different cities around the world and now more than 100 years later this is happening again.
The chefs will be preparing their recipes with respect for local products and sustainability, while following the principles and traditions of the French gastronomy. They will create their own menu but in a French gastronomy tradition: the diner à la francaise will include a traditional French apéritif, a cold and a hot starter, a fish or seafood dish and a poultry or meat dish, followed by a French cheese platter and a chocolate dessert. That last one can't be a problem here in Belgium, the land of chocolate. The menu will end with a traditional French digestif.
At the press launch we met some of the Belgian chefs who will participate on this exceptional day and all spoke with passion about how they will incorporate the 'Gout de France' idea on their menu. The Belgian cuisine is of course not so far from the French cuisine, there has always been a lot of interaction and the training to be a chef in Belgium is close to how a French chef is trained.
I know most of the participating Belgian restaurants and it will be a feast of delicacies to enjoy. It will be very interesting however to see how the synergy will work with other world cuisines like Asian and African cuisines, who will also work with local products. I wish I could have a look in one of the Japanese or Brazilian restaurants that evening!