More than 1,300 French chefs cooked dinner around the world last night for Goût de France, or Good France, a celebration of the achievements of legendary chef Auguste Escoffier on the 80th anniversary of his death. One such restaurant was The Greenhouse in Mayfair, London, where executive chef Arnaud Bignon served a three-course menu blending traditional with modern techniques.
"For me, because I don't work in France, it's nice to be able to present the philosophy of French cuisine abroad and show what we're doing in France," Chef Bignon said. "It was nice to do that tonight and to show some very traditional dishes with a modern twist."
Bignon's Escoffier-inspired menu included a pate en croute de pintade with guinea fowl, truffle, pickled mushroom and foie gras, a main course of rolled dover sole with seaweed, crayfish and truffle, and a twist on a Baked Alaska dessert with green Chartreuse and pine needle honey. Wine pairings included 2013 Viognier Le Pied de Samson, Georges Vernay and Chenin Blanc, Fram, 2013.
"The base of my cuisine is French and after that I try to do a combination of products," said Chef Bignon, who made his name at the two-Michelin-starred Spondi in Athens.
"I like to mix products and I work a lot on the acidity of my dishes," said Chef Bignon. "I love mixing citrus with fish, for example, and maybe something from the earth – something very fresh and then a nice balance of acidity."
Good France, an initiative launched by chef Alain Ducasse and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is part of a drive to promote French gastronomy around the world, increasing the influence of the country's cuisine abroad and driving visitors to France.
Restaurants participating in Good France included Amber in Hong Kong, Anne-Sophie Pic au Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Astrid y Gastón in Bogotá and Au Pied de Cochon in Mexico City, among thousands of others around the globe.