An international jury consisting of four international experts (members of IGCAT) having the additional experience of coming from already awarded European Regions of Gastronomy, have considered the application of Hauts-de-France for the title European Region of Gastronomy 2023.
After reviewing the bid book Explore Our Food, Uncover Our Hearts, which had been submitted on 31 July 2020, the four experts took part in a jury visit 13-17 October 2020. During the visit, the four members of the jury met leading stakeholder organisations from Agriculture, Agro-tourism, Tourism, Hospitality and Education. The jury were further able to visit and meet stakeholders from public, private, third sector and academic institutions.
The panel was chaired by President of IGCAT, Dr. Diane Dodd and included members of the European Region of Gastronomy Platform: Jesper Christensen, from Aarhus-Central Denmark 2017, expert in strategic development of gastronomic destinations and food innovation eco-systems; Jaume Gomila, from Menorca 2022, expert in cultural heritage, arts and education with a deep interest in food as intangible heritage; and Jens Storli, from Trondheim-Trøndelag 2022, expert culture, creative, gastronomy and sustainable tourism.
The aim of the visit was to assess the region’s readiness to host the title in 2023 and to prepare a comprehensive report to support and nurture preparations for the year and its long-term development.
The four experts will send a detailed list of recommendations to the lead partners within two weeks, intended to help produce a successful journey to the title.
The jury has also been impressed by Hauts-de-France’s:
- Investment to sustainability, particularly the enthusiasm of the young entrepreneurs they met, dedicated to developing sustainable concepts. They also noted the growing trend towards restaurants sourcing locally and the challenges to spread these values more widely. They hope these and other similar initiatives will be born in the region and empowered further if Hauts-de-France receives the title.
- Excellent quality gastronomy using local products. While they have only sampled a handful of restaurants, they have noted the chefs are strong ambassadors for local products. They were particularly impressed with efforts to introduce alternative drinks.
- Wide stakeholder participation in the process of developing the bid book (despite the challenges presented by Covid-19) and the commitment to expand and develop stakeholder engagement in the development of the programme for 2023.
As an area for further development, the jury identified inter-sectorial dialogue as there is a sense that there are many interesting and different initiatives throughout the region but that they need the space to meet and develop solutions and initiatives together. They particularly recommend further collaboration with the cultural/creative sectors, agriculture, hospitality and tourism.
Also, they noted that by working with actors in the region and celebrating their rich and diverse food related strengths could bring about social cohesion and inclusion as well as contribute to a stronger united and shared identity of Hauts-de-France as a gastronomic destination.
Finally, the jury’s recommendation
In order to further Hauts-de-France’s image as a gastronomic region nationally and abroad, they encouraged the region to engage with the Platform of European Regions of Gastronomy.
The jury strongly believe that the title, working together with the international partners would help Hauts-de-France in its quest to become world renowned and elevate the status of the region in terms of gastronomy, culture, hospitality, sustainable tourism and quality food supply.
On the basis of what the jury have seen so far, they tentatively recommend Hauts-de-France for the title European Region of Gastronomy 2023, which is the second phase of the application process.
The next phase is for Hauts-de-France stakeholders to respond quickly and positively to the jury’s requests and recommendations, that they will receive before the end of October 2020.
The final decision rests with the IGCAT Board and therefore the jury wishes Hauts-de-France the very best of luck.
In anticipation of a positive result they look forward to seeing preparations unfold for the region’s Award Ceremony early 2021.
During the press conference organised to announce the jury recommendation, Vice-president of the region of Hauts-de-France, Florence Bariseau stated that the Award would be so vital to help the region emerge from the current crisis and stressed the strong commitment of regional stakeholders to work together across sectors to make it happen.
About the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform
Candidate and awarded World Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to raise awareness about the importance of their cultural and food uniqueness; stimulate creativity and gastronomic innovation; educate for better nutrition; improve sustainable tourism standards; highlight distinctive food cultures; and strengthen community well-being.
IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance to safeguard and promote distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. This is essential to balance against globalised food trends that are impacting on our planet, health and local economies.
IGCAT is a non-profit institute established in 2012, working with regional stakeholder consortiums in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. It counts on the expertise of a worldwide network of experts and works in partnership with specialised intergovernmental organisations.
IGCAT provides the Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World Regions of Gastronomy Platform. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the Young Chef Award, the Local Food Gift Challenge, the Top Visitor Experience and the Food Film Menu.