Introduction to the event
Leader article by Sylvia Pinel, Minister for Craft Industries and Trades, Commerce and Tourism
The gastronomic tradition is central to the French way of life and it has come to represent a yardstick of quality, prestige and influence. It also epitomises French values, sociability and hospitality. In the words of the famous French chef, Paul Bocuse, “Cooking is no good if it is not inspired from the outset by friendship for the person you are cooking for”. It has become a cross-cultural phenomenon.
In France, gastronomy means so much more than simply spending quality time with family and friends over a meal. It is also a special tradition that has contributed to giving French towns and villages their unique characteristics and to the emergence of restaurants and bistros. As a result of this, increasing numbers of French men and women are now budding chefs.
Almost every day, we have new reasons to be proud of our cuisine. When French chefs open up “must go to” restaurants in locations around the globe. When it constantly mutates under the influence of flavours and tastes which contribute to multiculturalism. And, it goes without saying, when the “gastronomic meal of the French” was added to the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
So why not celebrate our love of gastronomy?
On 20, 21 and 22 September 2013, we will be hosting the Fête de la Gastronomie, a special festival showcasing both tradition and innovation. Open to amateurs and professionals, it will provide a grandstand for promoting and sharing produce and recipes as well as for finding out more about the work of those who are the lifeblood of French cuisine.
Under the patronage of master chef Thierry Marx, whose entire career has been devoted to gastronomy and to sharing his passion, the Fête de la Gastronomie is now a three-day event. This is because I want everyone to get involved, whether this means just having a good time, offering up groundbreaking recipes or sharing expertise.
The festival will be held in every corner of mainland France and in the overseas départements and territories, without forgetting the world’s major cities including New York and Beijing.
I am calling on the general public, food professionals and local authorities to fully embrace this great popular celebration and to help perpetuate the French gastronomic tradition.
Leader article by Thierry Marx, patron of the Fête de la Gastronomie 2013
I am very honoured to be a patron of this third Fête de la Gastronomie.
I sincerely hope that this culinary festival, open to everyone, will succeed in passing on knowledge in a lively, forward-looking way, by reinventing and promoting the local produce of France’s regions far beyond our national boundaries and preconceived ideas, creating a crossroads where our often elitist gourmet chefs can rub shoulders with our more unassuming, regional culinary hosts.
People with knowledge of culinary traditions eat better. Everyone is aware of how important education is to me. I will be seizing upon this Fête as an opportunity to reiterate how strongly I feel that gastronomy is about educating people’s palates and passing on knowledge at the local market, the heart of village life and our more working-class neighbourhoods. Taking as our starting point the goal of making French gastronomy accessible to an even greater number of French people is an extraordinary way of achieving this aim.
I also believe that education combined with this festival will give us the chance to extend the reach and influence of French gourmet cooking throughout the world. French gastronomy boasts an undeniably rich pool of human talent that can be harnessed to fulfil its true economic potential.
More importantly, by marrying wellbeing with health, gastronomy brightens up our daily lives by placing the spotlight on our multiple origins, our tourist and traditional craft industries and our environment. It is a reflection of our heritage, agriculture, and, dare I say it, identity. Richly multifarious, strongly idiosyncratic. Because, in these prudent times, I still believe that strength lies in diversity: diverse tastes, diverse local and regional produce, and the diverse pleasures that gastronomy is capable of offering.