Abu Dhabi: 12 restaurants from the UAE will be taking part in a worldwide food festival, Good France, celebrating French cuisine on March 21, Michel Miraillet, the French ambassador, announced today at an event held at his residence in Abu Dhabi.
Good France, which is an initiative by top French chef Alain Ducasse and organised by the French ministry of foreign affairs and international development, will see over 1,500 chefs in five continents celebrate French gastronomy by preparing a special menu to be served around the world on the same day.
All participating chefs have to follow one meal sequence and design recipes that use less fat, sugar and salt. The order of the dishes is what you’d experience at any classic French restaurant or dinner party: Aperitif and canapés, starters, main course(s), cheese and dessert(s), along with French drinks.
Miraillet welcomed guests and explained the importance of the event and that it aims to showcase the French way of life, regional products and France as a tourist destination. France receives 84 million tourists a year, which it is hoping to increase to 100 million in future, and French gastronomy plays a big part in attracting the visitors, he added.
He then introduced 10 of the 12 chefs whom will be taking part in the festival, seven from Abu Dhabi and five from Dubai, before guiding everyone to the garden where a mouth-watering table demonstrating a typical Good France menu was set up. The table, which was prepared freshly by the chefs, included oysters, duck, beef and chocolate desserts.
Participating venues have also agreed to donate 5 per cent of the earnings to a local non-government organisation. The UAE venues include Brasserie Flo, La Piscine and Le Beaujolais in Abu Dhabi, and Le Frioul, STAY by Yannick Alleno and Vogue Cafe in Dubai.
Miraillet said the money from the UAE participants will be donated to an Emirati foundation that supports mothers, as March 21 is Arab mother’s day.
He and his wife will honour Emirati and foreign women on March 21 by hosting a prestigious women-only dinner at their residence. They have invited women from all backgrounds, media to military, to sit together and celebrate them over French cuisine, “It is mother’s day and it has to be an event for them,” he said.
“I am more confident in the way they [women] dispatch the idea ... I think they are more influential than men for that.”
Asked what inspires him about women in the UAE he said, “They are hard workers, they know what they want. They want to create and build something and now they are the main builders of this country, I mean you can find them [women] everywhere [in all sectors] in this country.”
“What I like is their dynamism, they are so far from the image some people want to project about the Middle East or the Gulf ... they are some how some of the best ambassadors of this country,” he added.
Miraillet, a man who was taught to cook by his mother and used to cook regularly, joked that his wife “complains because she considers that I have stopped”. The Good France event is important to remind people about French talent and heritage, he said. “We should not be embarrassed of our heritage.”
Here are the 12 participating restaurants, selected by an international committee of chefs:
Brasserie Flo, Venetian Village
La Piscine, Al Raha Beach Hotel
The Forge, Ritz Carlton Hotel
Find, Beach Rotana
Still’s, Crowne Plaza Yas Island
Le Beaujolais, Mercure Center hotel
Original Fusion, The Mall, World Trade Center
Le Frioul, Madinat Jumeirah
Le Classique, Dubai Golf
Pure Sky Lounge & Dining, Hilton Dubai The Walk
STAY by Yannick Alléno, One & Only The Palm
Vogue Café, Dubai Mall