”Fete de la Gastronomie” (Gastronomy Feast) started on Thursday in Bucharest, marked by French Ambassador to Romania, Michele Ramis, who stated that gastronomy is “a language,” “an art,” but also “a powerful vector of bonding” people.
“Gastronomy is a powerful bonding vector between us and, within my mission, I will lay emphasis on this theme, because gastronomy is not just the art of feeding ourselves in a refined way. Gastronomy is also a language, a heritage and a useful tool in the political promotion (…) For me, gastronomy means much more than eating well. (…) Gastronomy is also an art, it is a real aesthetic pleasure,” said Michele Ramis at the event held at the French Embassy to mark the opening of the Gastronomy Feast.
At the same time, she said that for both France and Romania gastronomy is a source of “added value” and major economic development.
“I remind that in France, the gastronomy sector represents a turnover of over 230 billion euros and 1.3 million jobs,” the ambassador said, recalling also the inclusion, in 2010, of the French gastronomy in the intangible cultural heritage of humanity. She mentioned that, through the Gastronomy Feast, the French Embassy wishes to contribute to the promotion of local Romanian products, by referring to the Topoloveni plum jam, the Sibiu salami, the smoked novak from Barsei Land and the Ibanesti Cheese, which received European recognition.
The theme of this year’s edition of the event is “Au coeur du produit – In the heart of the product” and aims to highlight the importance of the quality of products used in the gastronomy and especially the diversity and richness of French produce.
The participants in the event at the Embassy of France, which marked the opening of the Gastronomy Feast, could taste various dishes made by the master chef Andrei Tamas.
“As usual, at ‘Fete de la Gastronomie’, we have a buffet in which we try to follow a theme. This year’s theme was ‘In the Heart of the Product.’ (…) I also managed to use in today’s menu (…) a buffet in the mirror. We will have some French dishes or products with some Romanian dishes and products,” Andrei Tamas said, exemplifying with the tarte Tatin and the Voinesti apple pie, but also ratatouille and a vegetable hotpot.
The celebration of gastronomy is organized for the fourth consecutive year by the French Embassy, the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the French Institute and Business France, together with their partners.
The event will take place until Sunday and will include almost 40 events.
In 2010, “le repas gastronomique a la française” was introduced in the immaterial heritage of humanity with all that it includes: local high quality produce, selection of dishes from different places, the “marriage” between dishes and wines, the art of setting up the table, the conversation. Since then, every year, France celebrates this recognition through a celebration of gastronomy. The feast has spread also outside France to those places where French gastronomy is appreciated, to please “connaisseurs,” or where it is less well known, in order to promote French products.
Chef Fabrice Giraud brings Parisian atmosphere to Bucharest in his menus
The Parisian atmosphere was brought to Bucharest by Fabrice Giraud (photo), the chef of the “La maison blanche” restaurant in Paris, as on Thursday he prepared a special menu for his Romanian guests, at the ”Fete de la Gastronomie” gastronomic festival.
For the first time in Romania, Giraud, the main guest of this year’s gastronomical event, cooked at the Barbizon (Pullman) restaurant in Bucharest, along with Chef Stefan Popescu. The basic ingredients of the dinner were fresh Romanian products and “passion,” as the two explained.
“First of all, I have conducted a research into the products we can find in Romania, and then, after seeing everything I can include in the menu, I decided to use seasonal products. That’s how I made the menu for the evening (…) There is aperitif, followed by entrée, fish, beef, pre-desert and desert. The servings are small, the meal is light,” said Giraud, mentioning among his creations foie gras, Romanian beef from the Carpathians and Romanian zander.
In his turn, Popescu spoke about the necessary preparations for such an event. “There is a lot of planning, preparation, tasting, testing, quality ingredients and lots, lots of passion,” he said.
In fact, the dinner was in line with the theme of this year’s edition of the gastronomical festival. “Au coeur du produit – At the heart of the products “- which aims to highlight the importance of the quality of products used in the gastronomical universe, especially the diversity and richness of French products.
“La maison blanche” chief Giraud has also worked at “Chantecler du Negresco,” in Nice, where he met singer Elton John. He has also cooked for celebrities such as George Bush, Hillary Clinton and Laurent Fabius, according to his recollection at the Bucharest event.
“But to me, every man is a personality,” Giraud said. The menu created for the Bucharest dinner has demonstrated this, by paying attention to details and taking care of those who chose to spend the evening with him.
Giraud also unveiled the “secret” of an agreeable ambiance for the meal: “I think it’s important to be in a nice company, in a nice place and to eat well.”
The recipient of one Michelin star, which he received in 1999 when he started working at the “Le Pain et le Vin” restaurant in Brussels, Giraud believes that Romanian gastronomy has a chance to evolve.
“I think there must be people who want to eat something good. In France, in the 1950s and 1960s, there was a revolution in our kitchen, and we call it ‘la nouvelle cuisine,’ the new kitchen, the new gastronomy, because previously there were products on the table, fairly heavy servings, heavy and oily sauces; thanks to journalists who loved food, we were able to revolutionise food,” said Giraud.
Romanians will have an opportunity to enjoy the Giraud’s meals on Friday at Mercure, and on Sunday at Novotel, also as part of the same gastronomic festival. He will also attend a master class with students of the Viilor Economics High School, where he will discuss the importance of hospitality training courses.
On his first visit to Romania, Giraud will try several recipes, including a beetroot risotto, but he does not rule out creating a meal inspired by Romania.
“It may happen, I do not rule that out (…) Bucharest is a beautiful city. Yesterday, when I landed in Bucharest, I even thought I was still in Paris because of the Triumphant Arch,” said Giraud.
As a matter of fact, the atmosphere in “Little Paris,” as Bucharest used to be called, on Thursday evening at Fabrice Giraud’s dinner, was worthy of the elegant events hosted by the capital of France.