Relais & Châteaux drafts Unesco-modelled plan to protect gastronomy


  • Food News
  • Wednesday, 19 Nov 2014

Two dishes served at French chef Marc Veyrat's La Maison des Bois in Haute-Savoie, France. The restaurant is one of the newest Relais Chateaux members this year.

Hotel association promises to promote local cuisine and partner local farmers, among others.

At Unesco headquarters in Paris on Nov 18, international hotel association Relais & Châteaux pledged to protect and preserve local artisans and gastronomic diversity as part of an elaborate 20-point modus operandi plan.

The luxury hotel group modelled its “Art of Living” mission statement after Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage programme, which aims to protect longstanding traditions – arts, social practices, rituals and skills – from the danger of extinction.

Promises include everything from promoting local cuisine and partnering with local farmers and suppliers to reducing food waste and using sustainable ingredients.

Much like the Michelin label, Relais & Châteaux touts itself as a standard-bearer for the hotel and restaurant industry. Members are often historic or heritage landmarks like castles or manors and are set in some of the most bucolic areas of the world.

Hotels are admitted based on factors such as charm, character and the terroir of their cuisine.

Their overall tagline is “Making a better world through cuisine and hospitality”.

Two dishes served at French chef Marc Veyrat's La Maison des Bois in Haute-Savoie, France. The restaurant is one of the newest Relais Chateaux members this year.

The mission statement also comes amid what Relais & Châteaux calls “significant and troubling changes” affecting the food and dining landscape that include large-scale food producers and unsustainable practices.

“As a result, some chefs have embraced the styles and trends imposed by the industry, which are, in truth, inconsistent with the original tenets of our profession.”

The 20-point programme is as much a mission statement as it is a tacit reminder to the group’s 550-odd member hotels and restaurants in 64 countries to align their operations with their renewed “art of living” vision.

The No. 1 commitment: “Offer a ‘cuisine’ that is representative of local traditions and environments and reflects their global diversity”.

This year, the group has added 36 new properties to the association, including seven from France and three each from China and Japan as well as hotels from Canada, India and the US. – AFP Relaxnews

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