Alain Ducasse has said that talking about French cuisine is talking about joie de vivre (the joy of living), delicacy, optimism, and pleasure – ideas that are all crucial to the image of France.
It is also one of, if not the most, revered cuisines in the world and listed as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by Unesco in 2010.
France and the French people have every reason to be proud of their cuisine, and hence “Gout de France” or “Good (Taste) France”, a celebration of French gastronomy around the world was born last year.
The event is inspired by the 104-year-old Auguste Escoffier’s Les Diners d’Epicure (Epicurean Dinners) tradition, during which one menu is served to as many guests as possible worldwide in one day.
In 2015, the first edition of Good France took the idea further, bringing all categories of restaurants together, connecting over 1,000 restaurants across 150 countries to participate in a global degustation dinner – a tasting menu of a carefully curated meal to give diners an idea of what French gastronomy is all about.
The second edition of this international event on March 21 hopes to mark, once again, the concrete demonstration of French cuisine’s influence around the world.
More than 1,500 chefs, 150 embassies and 150 countries are participating in Good France. The event also welcomes new participating countries namely Albania, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Guatemala, Mali, Montenegro, New Zealand, Sudan, Suriname and Swaziland.
Good France dinner will also be made available on Air France premium flights for 24 hours throughout the world, as well as Ponant cruises to Grenadines, Belem, Cabo Verde, Brazil and the Philippines.
Instead of one set menu, Good France participants are free to curate their own menus based on a multi-course meal, and fresh, seasonal and local products with French wines and spirits, while remaining free to highlight their own culinary culture and traditions as well.
This year, instead of celebrating Good France on just March 21, participating restaurants in the Klang Valley are making the special Good France menu available for five nights from March 19 to 23. This move is to give more people the opportunity to partake in this global event and enjoy French cuisine.
In Malaysia, five restaurants and one culinary arts school will take part in this worldwide celebration.
22A, Jalan 17/54, Seksyen 17
Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03-7932 5989
Belgian Chef Evert Onderbeke trained in French cuisine at a culinary school in Belgium, and had worked in several French fine dining restaurants including two years at a two Michelin-starred restaurant with Chef Roger Souvereyns. Onderbeke takes going local seriously with his Good France menu, which starts with a Pandan and Pineapple Champagne aperitif. Look out for Pahang’s finest as the chef serves Cameron Highland’s vegetable millefeuille and grilled tiger prawns from Rompin. Ducks make their way from Penang, as the chef prepares slow-cooked duckbreast with speculoos spices, greens and pommes dauphines. Price: RM270
44, Persiaran Zaaba, Taman Tun
Dr Ismail, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-7731 0502
Playing safe or small is obviously not on Chef Darren’s vocabulary as he prepares three different menus for this celebration. Customers can pick from the seven-course, five-course or three-course meals which celebrate local ingredients as much as possible while still respecting the spirit of French gastronomy. This includes lightly poached spiny lobster from Mersing, Johor and congee using mud crab from Pulau Ketam, Selangor. He also looks to France for the farm-raised French rabbit saddle, foie gras ganache with Yellowfin tuna, cold capellini with sea urchin and slow roasted French Anjou pigeon. Price RM248 (three course); RM348 (five course); RM428 (seven course).
Nathalie’s Gourmet Studio
Unit A4-1-5 Solaris Dutamas
Jalan Dutamas 1,
Mont Kiara, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-6207 9572
The rose among thorns, Chef Nathalie Arbefeuille is rising up the occasion by serving a seven-course menu which celebrates her love for France, at her learning centre-cum-restaurant. A proponent of originality in her cuisine, most of the produce on Chef Arbefeuille’s menu are imported from France. Pan-seared foie gras in a truffled brioche, Britanny blue lobster tortellini, French veal blanquette, porcini and sweetbread are just several of the items on the menu that pays homage to her South-west France roots. Chef Arbefeuille’s cheese selection is made of blue cheese crispy cromesquis with wild rocket salad and hazelnut dressing. Her Good France menu is only available on March 19 and March 21. Price: RM225
5 Changkat Kia Peng,
Tel: 03-2144 1474
2OX Bistro Bar
56, Jalan Doraisamy,
Tel: 03-2692 2233
This year Chef Thierry Le Baut wears two chef hats as he prepares the menus for Maison Francaise as well as his newest baby 2OX Bistro and Bar. Chef Le Baut is proud to participate in Good France for the second year and states that the inspiration behind the menus is to claim the diversity and savoir faire of French cuisine and for Malaysians to discover the flavours of typical French food.
Starting with a burgundy amuse bouche of smoked salmon, the Maison Francaise menu includes octopus carpaccio, homemade foie gras from South of France, roasted lamb fillet, and a selection of matured French cheese. The 2OX menu serves a pate of pork belly and pork liver, steamed mussels, coq au vin, and ends with the French classic, creme brulee. Prices: RM380 (Maison Francaise) and RM180 (2OX)
Espace Mr Andre Cointreau
Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia
5, Jalan Universiti, Bandar
Sunway, Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Tel: 03-5632 1188
Previously the Cuisine Chef Instructor at Le Cordon Bleu Dusit in Bangkok, Thailand, Chef Rodolphe Onno is currently the Technical Director at Le Cordon Bleu Malaysia. Prior to teaching, Chef Onno of Brittany, France, had worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants and his career spans over two decades. Chef Onno will kick start the March 19 dinner with a 15-minute demonstration of traditional French cooking methods. Expect snails, pike perch dumplings, sous vide fillet of John Dory with seared liver of monkfish, duck fillet, goat cheese and more. Only 35 seats are available for this dinner with French wine pairings. Ten per cent of the sales proceeds will be donated to an NGO which advocates health and environmental issues. Price: RM380.