In China, the “Trophees de l’Esprit Alimentaire” Awards Ceremony places the French art of tableware and gastronomy in the spotlight

23-12-2015 soiree de TEA
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For the second year running, the Trophees de l’Esprit Alimentaire were an outright success and recognised enthusiasts of French gastronomy in China.

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This year’s theme,  French gastronomy and the art of tableware, marked the second edition of the awards, targeting two distinct target audiences: key actors from the restaurant sector and influential gourmet consumers in China. The prestigious awards ceremony to discern trophy winners took place on 11th December 2015 in Shanghai, and was such a high point that it attracted some 200 participants. The 2015 event built upon the Awards’ inaugural launch in 2014 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China.  “The whole point of the Awards is to reward and encourage Chinese individuals who actively promote French food and gastronomic culture in China. At the same time, presenting the winners with their trophies is a great way to create French food ambassadors in their respective countries” explains Ling Wang, project director Sopexa China.

Organisers were keen to bring various innovative changes this year, notably introducing a new “French tableware” category, since as Ling Wang explains ”for the French, gastronomy is not just a leisure activity but also an art form”. Indeed, table decor, crockery and restaurant staging are just as important as the quality of ingredients and recipes. “As French gastronomy progressively develops in China, savouring good food is also about paying particular attention to visual enjoyment and the overall mood, with greater expectations when it comes to decorating the table and presenting food”, adds Ling Wang.  Which is why the theme of “Tableware in the spotlight“ has been added to the roster of trophies. France is known throughout the world for the quality of its food, its traceability, food safety, and also the sophistication of its cuisine. Chinese consumers are particularly taken by this. “As a key component of French culture, French gastronomy stands for tradition, heritage, creativity, diversity and premium quality. It is a prestigious calling card for France.”

The versatility of French cuisine adapting to local culture

French chefs attending the Awards ceremony made a special point of honouring French gastronomy, whilst adjusting to Chinese consumers’ expectations “Chefs who commit to promoting French gastronomy, while respecting French tradition, bravely innovate by creating dishes that combine their individual interpretation of French and Chinese culture with Chinese ingredients and culinary culture, the latter being particularly significant” explains Ling Wang. It is the versatility of French cuisine as it adapts to the culture of the host country that can result in new partnerships. Industry professionals must take this additional element into account before launching on this emerging market.

France is working hard to ensure that its gastronomic culture develops on the Chinese market and the Trophees de l’Esprit Alimentaire are testament to its dedication. For the second year running, dozens of candidates entered one of eight trophy categories, including Culinary Creativity, Tableware in the spotlight, French gastro entrepreneur (for importers and for the e-commerce sector), Training in the field of French gastronomic culture, Promoting French gastronomic culture and Innovation. From chefs to restaurant owners, e-retailers to wine and food educators and various media representatives, every type of trade professional was invited to celebrate French gastronomy in all its diversity. “This year we introduced an honorary award to recognise outstanding effort in promoting French food”.  A convincing illustration that food can also be an important ingredient in diplomatic relations.

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