The French have always been lauded for having good taste – especially when it comes to matters of food and dining. Celebrating this quintessential part of French culture, Alliance Française has decided to educate and spotlight the publuc on the French art of fine dining, with their programme À Table!
As its title suggests, the programme is headlined by a celebration of the table itself, and dining settings. Titled La table dans tous ses états (the table in all its states), you might be surprised to find that the humble table can easily be elevated to a luxury, given the right setting and context.
The exhibition showcases the versatility and elegance of the French table through three specially furnished dining tables and a collection of historical menus linking France and the Southeast Asian region, such as those from state dinners offered by the French president to the late King Rama IX of Thailand or even to the former President of the Republic of Singapore.
The tables on the exhibition will be furnished with crockery and objects from luxury brands such as Christofle, Baccarat, and Bernardaud, as well as showcase menus served onboard cruise ships and aircrafts that have connected France with this region of the world.
Almost a dozen talks and workshops will also be featured during the programme, including cheese appreciation, wine appreciation, dining etiquette, champagne tasting and more. There’ll even be a session on ‘gastrodiplomacy’, where guest-of-honour Guillaume Gomez (former chef at the Elysée Palace and the French President’s “personal representative” for promoting “French gastronomy, culinary arts, and food” internationally), as he gives an insider’s perspective into what goes on behind the scenes of state dinners and receptions at the presidential palace, along with Mr. Laurent Stefanini, Ambassador of France to Monaco and author of À la table des diplomates – a historical account of how France transformed its cuisine into a diplomatic asset.
Finally, the film buffs can also look forward to a mini-festival centred around the theme of gastronomy. Films include a documentary on natural wine directed by Stéphanie Rigourd, the most prominent French sommelier in Singapore, along with documentaries such as La quête d’Alain Ducasse (The Quest of Alain Ducasse), family wine drama Back To Burgundy, and more.
Still think a table’s just a table? Think again, as À Table! brings you the very best of French food culture, as encapsulated in grand table settings, educational gastronomy workshops, and favourite films.
À Table! runs from 7th April to 3rd May 2021. More information available on the Alliance Française website here