Goût de France: A feast for the senses

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ENJOYING a few baguette slices, then a plate of boeuf bourguignon, followed by a plateau de fromage and crêpes suzette, accompanied with occasional sips of wine, may not sound like an ordinary, frugal lunch or dinner. Yet what may seem as a fancy meal will be made accessible around the country on a specific day.

This is thanks to Goût de France (Good France), the biggest dinner in the world, which celebrates French gastronomy on March 21.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France and celebrated French chef Alain Ducasse launched the annual event in 2015, and it is organized by French diplomatic missions in their host countries as a way to make French cuisine accessible.

French Ambassador Nicolas Galey noted in his speech during the event launch in BGC, Taguig City that the wealth of French cuisine was included in UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2010.

“As Filipinos, many people can be intimidated by French food. It is often perceived as classy, complicated, elitist, or, inevitably, costly. As if French people’s everyday meals were only made of sophisticated cuisine — expensive and difficult to make. As if everyone in France had a fortune each day to prepare his/her lunch or dinner. Of course, it is not the case,” Mr. Galey said.

The goal of Goût de France is “to give more access of French cuisine to more people when many people think that the French meal is expensive,” Mr. Galey told members of the media.

Each year, an international committee led by Mr. Ducasse select 3,000 chefs from 150 countries to serve a traditional French dinner in their own establishments on the same day. This year, 18 chefs from the Philippines were chosen. The chefs have each prepared a complete French menu following the sequence of a traditional French meal (aperitif with finger food, starter, one or two main courses, cheese platter, and dessert), accompanied by French wines, which they will serve in their respective restaurants.

The participating restaurants in Metro Manila are: Lemuria and Gourmet Bar at Novotel in Quezon City; Le Bistro d’ Agathe, Chef Jessie Rockwell Club, CDP Global Table, Elbert’s Steak Room, Maria Luisa’s Garden Room, Paris Delice, and Le Petit Souffle in Makati City; Vatel Restaurant in Manila; Spiral Manila at Sofitel in Pasay City; L’Entrecote, La Mere Poulard, Restaurant 101, and Sagana Epicerie and Bistro in Taguig City. In Tagaytay, chef Jonathan Bouthiaux will serve a five-course meal at Samira. In Cebu, the French menu prepared by chef Richard Amado will be served in La Vie Parisienne, while chef David Virrey will be serving a set menu to guests at Eiffel Kubo in Bukidnon.

The restaurants’ respective menus were reviewed and approved by the selection committee presided by Mr. Ducasse.

“Daily food can be easy to make — simple, light, affordable, but tasty and surprising,” Mr. Galey said.

To know more about the menus to be served and to make a reservation, contact the participating Goût de France/Good France. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman