Initiated by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development and Alain Ducasse, the godfather of French cuisine, Good France swooped into Beijing on March 21.
The event, aimed to promote French food and the merits of French cuisine, enables Beijingers to enjoy contemporary French cuisine at the city’s top French restaurants.
The event featured more than 1,000 French chefs around the world sharing their culinary expertise by cooking dinners at participating restaurants.
Menus included the traditional French aperitif, a cold starter, a hot starter, fish or shellfish, meat or poultry, cheese, a chocolate dessert and French wines and champagnes. Each demonstrated the modernity and diversity of French cuisine and quality ingredients.
2016 was the second time the French Embassy in Beijing participated in the event. This year, more than 60 restaurants in 18 Chinese cities were involved, among which seven were located in Beijing. Fans of French cuisine and newcomers were encouraged to explore dishes to which they would not therwise have had access.
Each menu highlighted a dish that contained less fat, sugar and salt, and featured vegetables and grains to show healthy and environmentally responsible cuisine. In keeping with the concept of “eating local,” most of the ingredients were sourced from local, in-season produce.
Thomas Ciret, the current chef de cuisine at the French Embassy in Beijing, said this year’s dinner party featured cuisine from the French countryside. Guests could see live chickens, rabbits, pigs and donkeys in the embassy’s garden.
“More than one third of the international travelers who visit France go to experience French cuisine and wine. I hope to see the event grow as an opportunity to celebrate the art of French living and enhance the charm of French gastronomy through a festive dining experience for Chinese people at different levels of society,” said Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, French Ambassador to China.
As to the modernity of French cuisine, the ambassador said many French chefs have begun to use tofu and Sichuan pepper, a spice commonly used in Chinese cuisine, in their cooking.