France shares ‘Provencal cuisine,’ promotes sustainable dining

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : Mar 20, 2019 - 17:16
  • Updated : Mar 20, 2019 - 17:16

The French Embassy in Korea will look to promote French gastronomy through the works of two chefs from its Provencal region, to be demonstrated at the annual Gout de France/Good France celebration Thursday.

Since 2014, French Embassies across the globe have been organizing the event in their respective residing nations under the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development. 

From left: French Ambassador to Korea Fabien Penone and chefs Fanny Rey and Guillaume Sourrieu speak at a press conference Wednesday at the French Embassy in central Seoul. (Im Eun-byel/The Korea Herald)

The two invited chefs -- Fanny Rey and Guillaume Sourrieu -- will create authentic French dishes for a gala dinner Friday, under the theme of the Provence region and sustainable dining. Local business and cultural figures are to attend.

“The cooperation between Korea and France in culinary (sector) is important,” French Ambassador to Korea Fabien Penone said at a press conference held Wednesday at the embassy in central Seoul.

“Many Korean chefs go to France to learn cooking and French chefs visit Korea often, too,” the ambassador said, adding that French embassies in New York and Belgium have also invited chefs for the event.

“Korea is a nation of gastronomy,” the ambassador said, when asked why Korea is one of the three nations to have been given the chance to invite chefs from the Provence region. “The governments of Korea and France have a cooperative relationship. Many Korean tourists visit France. So this would be a great opportunity to introduce the Provence region to Korea.”

As both chefs hail from the southern region, close to the Mediterranean Sea, Friday’s gala dinner is to be themed around those waters.

“The Provence region’s cuisine is full of scents, very aromatic. We use a lot of fresh herbs,” Rey said. She starred in popular French cooking show “Top Chef” in 2011 and was also selected as Female Chef of the Year by the Michelin Guide in 2017.

Running a restaurant in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, the chef explained she has been a great advocate of healthy eating.

“I cannot say that I do not use any salt. But I try to use the minimum amount as possible. Instead, I use seaweed from the Mediterranean for seasoning,” the chef said.

Chef Sourrieu, from Marseille, said it is the responsibility of chefs to promote and encourage sustainable dining.

“Produce is important,” the chef said. “Using local produce in season is a way of being a part of sustainable dining.”

Personally interested in Korea’s food culture, Sourrieu said he hopes to sample fermented vegetables during his stay in Korea.

This year, 31 restaurants and institutions here are to participate in the Gout de France/Good France celebration, creating a traditional French dinner under this year’s theme.

Along with events hosted across the world, various culinary-related activities will also take place all over France on Thursday, including tasting events and cooking classes.

By Im Eun-byel (