Gastronomic pole: Macron creates a pole of excellence for French gastronomy | France
The French have long made a meal out of what they eat, although the culinary ritual that begins with an appetizer, continues with at least four courses with bread and wine, and ends with a digestif is rarely a daily occurrence.
Today, after persuading the United Nations to add the country’s renowned gastronomy to the great name of “intangible cultural heritage of humanity”, Emmanuel Macron said he was creating a “center of excellence” to promote culinary traditions of France.
The president made the announcement during a visit to Lyon this weekend; the idea, he said, would be to train future leaders like footballers, rugby players and athletes so that they can “achieve excellence in major competitions … and win international honors for the France”.
The center was born from the imagination of Guillaume Gomez, 43, award-winning chef at the Élysée, who has worked in the presidential kitchens since the age of 16 and who was appointed in February “Macron’s personal representative to the service of French gastronomy ”.
Macron suggested the center should be based in or around Lyon, France’s third-largest city and the self-proclaimed “gastronomic capital of the world,” which has more than 4,000 restaurants, including 17 Michelin-starred.
It would be “a training center of excellence for the entire culinary industry,” he told a gathering of top chefs, aiming to “train for big competitions and prepare you as athletes for win prizes in the name of France “.
With a hotly contested electoral battle for the presidential election next spring, Macron already has his work cut out for him. But he took the opportunity to thank those present for having “held firm” during the Covid-19 crisis, during which the restaurants closed a total of 12 months: three months during the strict confinement of last year and between October and June of this year.
The French hotel industry has been hit hard by the global health crisis which first forced hotels, restaurants and other establishments to close and then face the absence of tourists from the United States and Asia.
“You kept innovating… don’t lose that spirit to win,” Macron told them, adding he was sure the tourists would be back. “Gastronomy is at the heart of the art of being French.