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1300 chefs join worldwide French gastronomic extravaganza

media Pierre René-Worms/RFI

1,300 chefs around the world joined a round the globe cook-in on Thursday aimed at promoting French cuisine.

In an operation sponsored by the French government, French-style meals were served in 150 countries, in French embassies and consulates, as well as hotels, restaurants and cafes under the slogan Good France/Gout de France (Taste of France).

French cooking was designated an intangible cultural heritage by Unesco in 2010 and French food culture attracts millions of tourists and contributes hugely to the economy.

The composition of each dinner was left up to the chefs, many of whom were non-French, but had to feature hot and cold first courses, a seafood dish, a meat dish, French cheese, a chocolate dessert, and French wines.

In the Cuban capital Havana, diners were treated to warm foie fras on potato confit, in Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh there were oysters gratinees with Kampot red peppercorn butter, in Sydney in Australia there were roast Hervey Bay scallops with watercress, and in Istanbul local products such as eggplant caviar and Bosphorus turbot flatfish were offered alongside Henri IV-style boiled chicken.

Prices for the meals ranged from 30 to 380 euros

Star French chef Alain Ducasse said the operation showed French cuisine was everywhere around the planet and that "it can continue to exist and to be influential, contrary to what the Anglo-Saxons would have you believe".

He maintained that France was "the only country able to do" such a global culinary initiative.

The extravaganza culminates on Thursday night with a VIP 650-seat dinner at the Palace of Versailles near Paris prepared by eight top chefs, including Ducasse.

Most of those invited are foreign ambassadors posted to the French capital.


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