Mr. President of the Senate,Madam President of the Parliamentary Club of the Table Française, dear Catherine Dumas,Mr. Senator, dear Gérard Miquel,Mr. Deputy Mayor of Beaune, dear Alain Suguenot,Members of Parliament and Senators,Dear friends,

It is a great pleasure to be with you at the Salon International de
Agriculture, to celebrate the inscription of the gastronomic
French» on the representative list of intangible cultural heritage
world of UNESCO.
France’s candidacy was wanted and announced, as you have
by the President of the Republic here, three years ago, on the 23rd
February 2008. The case was heard by the Ministry of
Culture and Communication, in connection with the Ministry of Agriculture,
of food, fishing, rural development and
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Education
National, and, of course, the French Heritage and Culture Mission
Food chaired by Jean-Robert Pitte. The 5th committee
of States Parties to the Convention for the Protection of
of intangible cultural heritage, gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, made us
the honour on 16 November 2010 to give it a favourable outcome.
This inscription is the recognition of a customary social practice,
to celebrate the most important moments of our lives, the
births, marriages, birthdays, successes, reunions.
I would like to quote the points made by UNESCO:
«The gastronomic meal of the French refers to this festive meal, bringing together
guests who practice together the art of eating well and doing well
drinking”; this popular tradition, familiar to all the French, which
centuries of existence, which is nevertheless constantly evolving. The
living together, caring for others, sharing around pleasure and taste,
the balance between the human being and the productions of nature, are a
appearance. The precise rites according to which this meal takes place, are one
other: search for good products, reference to recipe corpus
codified, culinary know-how, table aestheticisation, succession of
services, marriage of food and wine, conversation around food.”
When I read this description, I can’t help but reflect on the
hidden face of the culinary ritual, to its excess that seduced the great
filmmakers. I think of Peter Greenaway and Richard Bohringer in The
cook, the thief, his wife and lover; at La Grande Bouffe, of course,
of Marco Ferreri, where dinner becomes the symbol of self-destruction of a
hyperconsumer society.
This is obviously not what has been highlighted in our
candidacy for UNESCO, for which the editors, indeed took them,
were further inspired by Brillat-Savarin and its Physiology of
of which one of the aphorisms warns us: those who became indigent or
who get drunk can’t eat or drink.”
From this angle, the gastronomic meal of the French indicates a certain
type of relationship to power, a relationship I will call properly
“cultural”, which goes from “fork to fork, and from table to arts
of the table”, to use a nice expression that is used here,
encompassing the landscape, the built heritage, the rhythm of the
seasons and the often pictorial ways of counting and
accompanying it, the language and its expressions, the utensil factory and
objects… In short, a digest of civilization.
In this respect, it is not surprising that major heritage sites have
marked by gastronomy. It is at the Château de Chantilly that
François Vatel, promoted in 1663 «comptroller general de la Bouche» of the
Grand Condé gave himself death at a great feast given to the castle
in honour of Louis XIV whose success had been compromised by
a fish from Boulogne-sur-Mer that had been waiting too long. It’s at
castle of Valençay that the famous cook Lent prepared meals
Prince of Talleyrand in preserved kitchens open to the
visit. It is, of course, at the Sèvres factory, that many
dishes were and continue to be designed and produced for the largest
tables of France and the world. It is in Limoges that we find our
wonderful porcelain, whose file is being investigated for
this same representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of
The cellars of Roquefort, the fishing walls of Montreuil are described in
the General Inventory of Heritage. Just like the Jurande of Saint-
Emilion, also inscribed on the World Heritage List, the LU factory in
Nantes or the Meunier chocolate factory in Noisiel. Many shops
special protection on the part of the Monuments
History, bakeries, pastries, butchers, butchers
The Royal Palace, which housed at the beginning of the
19th century the first gastronomic restaurants of Paris, is
classified. Guy Martin’s Grand Véfour still bears witness to this
today. The Drouant restaurant, which combines gastronomic heritage and
literary creation around the Prix Goncourt is ranked, just like the
Art Nouveau breweries and broths: Bofinger, Julien, Vagenende, the
Bouillon Racine… What if we had to add to this inventory the countless
still life paintings that count our museums, scenes of life
rural and agricultural, table reliefs or fishmonger stalls, such as the Skate
of Chardin, costumes of popular traditions, films about the
food, I was talking about, like the famous Feast of Babette where a village
around Parisian cuisine for a dinner,
would we find that a considerable part of our culture
is in direct contact with gastronomy.
The heads of Euro-toques, who give us the pleasure and honor to be in
today pay a very nice tribute to a social fact
agriculture, industry and tourism, environmental
public health as well – there are rats in the kitchen in Ratatouille de
Pixar, but friendly rats and food lovers too! – , and that is
eminently a matter of culture.
This cultural fact was sanctioned by the creation of the National
culinary arts in 1989 which was at the initiative of many
events, such as taste week or site inventory
remarkable taste. My ministry, in connection with the ministries of
Agriculture and Education, has made a commitment to UNESCO to
continue these actions to safeguard the heritage linked to gastronomy,
in particular, education to taste in schools and leisure centres,
in connection with family cooking, household cooking, modest cooking,
which is at the heart of learning taste; the development of the
documentation and research on diet and rituals
food – I think of the history of taste and gastronomy, which we
already teaches in Tours, and at the census of oral or
kitchen parties – and finally, public awareness and information
to gastronomy, by inviting the actors of the
to consider this aspect of their participation. The mission
French heritage and food cultures of Jean-Robert Pitte
proposed to implement a number of these measures. I
support, of course, with my government colleagues.
Benefit from the international recognition that UNESCO has
wanted to give to the French gastronomic meal, it is also to stand at the
of these commitments.
Finally, I remember that my department also has a responsibility
with respect to creation, which is the heritage of tomorrow. I took
knowledge of the College’s statement with great interest
I will be very pleased to receive the
representatives. I am particularly sensitive to the project of residences
young culinary talents they have designed. As in the
fashion, as in design, as in crafts, we know,
that it is by forming the great creators of tomorrow that the
heritage that we will defend will remain alive. Moreover, we cannot
that to be pleased to see today contemporary art interested more
in the kitchen. I want proof of this the restaurant on the roof of the
Palais de Tokyo, events organized by the Fooding or the
culinary art centre project in Nègrepelisse. I want to put everything in
works to encourage and promote these creators, alongside
Plan National de l'Alimentation de Bruno Le Maire, du plan Export de
Pierre Lellouche or the Fête de la gastronomie by Frédéric Lefebvre,
so that we can continue to flatter ourselves in many
years of having a French gastronomy that is not, as says
Catherine Dumas, the best in the world, but who is really «unique».
Remember the famous Brillat-Savarin formula: Destiny
of nations depends on how they feed.”
Thank you.