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Vietnamese chefs to serve a taste of France

Update: March, 12/2015 - 10:13
Good taste: French Ambassador to Viet Nam Jean-Noel Poirier (first row, second left) and chefs participating the Gout de France pose for a photo shoot to promote this international gastronomy event. — Photo courtesy of the French Embassy
HA NOI  (VNS) — Seventeen chefs from Viet Nam will join more than 1,000 chefs from all over the world for the first-ever "Gout de France" (Taste of France) to celebrate French gastronomy on March 19.

An initiative of the world-famous three-Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse and French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, the event will be held in restaurants in 150 countries across five continents.

The international event is inspired by the 1912 Les Diners d'Epicure (Epicurean Diners) initiated by chef, restaurateur and culinary writer Auguste Escoffier, in which one menu was served in cities around the world for a single day.

Gout de France will mark the first concrete demonstration of French cuisine's recent listing in the "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" category by UNESCO, granted for its influence on the world.

Dinners served in participating restaurants will honour the merits of French cuisine, its capacity for innovation and its values of enjoying and respecting the principles of high-quality and environmentally responsible cuisine.

In Viet Nam, 17 chefs, seven Vietnamese and 10 non-Vietnamese, from Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang, Hue and Hoi An were selected by a committee of international chefs led by chef Ducasse.

French Ambassador to Viet Nam Jean-Noel Poirier said that Viet Nam will contribute the second highest number of chefs to the event.

Each chef has designed a special six-course menu, featuring hot and cold starters, fish or shellfish, meat or poultry, French cheese, chocolate dessert and all accompanied by French wines or liqueurs. Their menus must also use local ingredients.

According to French chef Olivier Genque of the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi – one of the event's participating restaurants – the diversity of Viet Nam's spices and fresh ingredients make it easy to find suitable ingredients for his food creations.

"I especially like green vegetables from Da Lat," he specified.

Vietnamese chef Le Vu Binh, from Le Cafe Lautrec of the Hotel de l'Opera in Ha Noi, favours using local ingredients such as Nha Trang lobster and Vietnamese duck. His dishes also feature other local ingredients, such as tia to (perilla), grapefruit and sweet potato.

In Ha Noi, Gout de France dinners will be served at French Grill in Hotel JW Marriot, Press Club, Cafe du Lac in Hotel InterContinental Westlake, La Badiane, Millenium-Cafe des Arts, Cafe Lautrec in Hotel de l'Opera, Green Tangerine, Le Beaulieu in Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, and La Cheminee in Hotel Pullman.

In HCM City, the special menus are available at L'Olivier in Hotel Sofitel Plaza Saigon, Augustin, Le Bordeaux; Villa Song, and Annamite.

In the nation's central region, the event will take place on March 19 at Annam Restaurant in Hotel Victoria in Hoi An, the Le Parfum in Residence Hue Hotel&Spa in Hue, and the Azure Beach Lounge in Hotel Pullman Beach Resort in Da Nang.

Leading up to the event, French Ambassador Poirier prepared a lunch for a group of journalists last Tuesday.

The Ambassador, who describes himself as a "masterchef" of his house's kitchen in Paris, personally went to the Hang Be market in downtown to purchase ingredients for his dishes, including pot au pho, an adaptation of the traditional French pot au feu, and fig and raisin cake. — VNS

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