Goût de France is on its 4th year. It has survived 3 foreign ministers, because of its international success. Why?, because there is a traditional strong link between diplomacy and gastronomy. There was a cuisine "à la française" already in the 14th century, well before there were permanent Embassies (16th century).
As time passed by, the gastronomic menu started taking a more classical order: entrée or potage, fish, meat with vegetables, salad or cheese, dessert, and wines all along, at least two. With all the important official meetings of heads of state, there has been a memorable menu and it crossed the centuries. When French President General de Gaulle hosted German chancellor Adenauer in view of signing the historic treaty of reconciliation (22 January 1963), there was a famous lunch and when President Hollande hosted for the first time chancellor Angela Merkel (8 July 2012) there was a famous lunch as well: salmon, beef, and vegetables, duck, cheese, and macaron, with 3 wines. A bit more luxurious than the first one, which comprised only homard, calf and vegetables, salad and fruit savarin, and two types of wine. In 50 years, reconciliation has well progressed!
Today's event is not about diplomacy but business. France has decided for many years to promote it attractively. We already have the biggest number or tourists (89 million in 2017 and growing) and we want more. Gastronomy is part of the reason. But we are not exclusive; The "gastronomic meal of the French" has been declared by UNESCO "intangible heritage", so it belongs to all mankind. On March 21st, during the week of Francophonie, 3000 restaurants all over the world will celebrate, including 8 in Nepal.
It is the 3rd time that it is being organized in Kathmandu, on 21st March, and it is more popular every year. It allows Nepal to be on the world map as well as for other global events: the night of ideas on 21st January, the fête de la musique on 21st June. So this year we have 8 participants after we had 2 in 2016 and 5 in 2017. Congratulations! Please note that it is a very Nepali event since almost all restaurants or schools are run by Nepalis. It perfectly exemplifies the spirit of openness of French gastronomy and is a testament of Nepali talent.
From a simple bistrot to more expensive restaurants, everyone is welcome. Since proper training and a good service are an essential component of the "gastronomic meal of the French", schools are also welcome as well. There is the onlya simple requirement when it comes to the meal: It should have an entrée, main dish, cheese on option, dessert, and a choice of wines.
Yves Carmona is the ambassador of France to Nepal. Excerpts of his statement delivered at a press meet.