French gastronomy celebrated across the world
On March 19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development held its first international celebration of French gastronomy, Goût de / Good France. The project, which was launched in partnership with Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse, invited chefs from around the world to design menus featuring a well-balanced French-style meal to serve at their restaurants on this occasion.
The initiative was inspired by Auguste Escoffier, who created the "Dîners d’Epicure" (Epicurian Dinners) in 1912, with the goal of serving the same menu, on the same day, in several cities around the world. More than 1,300 restaurants in 150 countries were selected to participate in Goût de / Good France, with 45 in the United States.
At the Ambassador’s Kalorama Residence in Washington, D.C., a high-level dinner was held with American and French journalists, chefs, and representatives of the tourism industry in attendance. The head chef of the residence, Christophe Tanneau-Kervran, designed a menu especially for the occasion featuring two French products recently approved for commercial exportation to the U.S.: Ariane apples and Bayonne ham.
French Ambassador Gérard Araud spoke at the dinner about the importance of French cuisine in the United States, noting that America is the biggest market for French gastronomic exports outside of the European Union, with an average growth of 8% per year, totaling 4 billion dollars in 2014. The ambassador reiterated that this evening would be a celebration of French gastronomy worldwide, affirming "values of sharing conviviality, pleasure and respect for good food and togetherness."
Jean Robert Pitte, President of the French Mission for Food Heritage and Culture, was a featured guest at the dinner held at the French Residence. Mr. Pitte played an essential role in achieving recognition of the French gastronomical meal on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage of the world, which was granted in 2010. Séverine Bonne, a member of the Château Malartic-Lagravière, presented the wines and courses served to guests. Additionally, the Distilled Spirits Council in the U.S. served a collection of French "digestifs."
Outside of the Kalorama Residence, a similar dinner was held at Ici Urban Bistro, the Washington, D.C. restaurant selected for participation in Goût de / Good France. Chef Franck Loquet created a gourmet seven-course menu following the gastronomic outline, which included Branzino tartare and radish salad, a fine woodland mushroom tart with truffled goat cheese mousse, Atlantic salmon “mi-cuit,” herb crusted lamb loin, a selection of French cheese and a three-chocolate crémeux.
French Consul General in Washington Olivier Serot-Almeras attended this dinner at the Washington-based restaurant, which is located in the Sofitel at Lafayette Square. Ici Urban Bistro proudly support the Petits Frères des Pauvres, or the American Fund of the Little Brothers of the Poor. Five percent of the proceeds from the dinner were donated to support this organization.