The first French region to receive this important accolade, Hauts-de-France was officially handed the European Region of Gastronomy 2023 title by the President of the International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism (IGCAT) on 10 October 2022. The ceremony also offered the opportunity to publicly launch a call for local stakeholders and projects to join the European Region of Gastronomy 2023 programme.
Organised by the Campus of Tourism and Innovation and the Hauts-de-France Region – two of the founding stakeholders of Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy 2023, the event, held at Pré Fleuri in Sainte-Catherine, gathered local ambassadors, project leaders and future event organisers. The aim was to launch an inclusive process for local chefs, producers, craftsmen, communities, agri-food companies, public entities, schools, training institutions, students and many more actors to come together and build a renewed identity for the region, based on its strongest values: hospitality, conviviality, sharing, and creativity.
“We are very happy and very proud of this label” affirmed President of Hauts-de-France Tourism and Regional Adviser delegated to Tourism, Daniel Fasquelle, while highlighting how the region already had all it takes when it comes to great dishes, products and chefs. The European Region of Gastronomy award “will serve as a sort of accelerator to mobilise all our energies, to work faster and stronger in a direction that we had already taken” added Fasquelle, who also expects tangible benefits for Hauts-de-France in terms of tourism, attractiveness, employment and public health. (Journal de Ham, translated by the author)
Alexandre Gauthier, Chef of 2-Michelin-starred restaurant La Grenouillère and official Ambassador of Hauts-de-France, European Region of Gastronomy 2023 said that he hopes the award will be a sounding board for the region’s gastronomy, farming, produce, fishing, hospitality, food industry and the many other sectors involved.
“The European Region of Gastronomy Award brings with it responsibility” explained Diane Dodd PhD, President of IGCAT. “Distinctive food cultures can ensure a sustainable food future and thus protect our planet’s biodiversity but this will only possible with solid and active partnerships working across many sectors inlcuding health, education, agriculture, arts, hospitality and environment protection.You are now part of a network of 15 awarded European Regions of Gastronomy that share knowledge, cross-market one another and develop joint projects. Next year, representatives from this Platform will visit Hauts-de-France to learn from you – it will be a chance to tell your story to the world” said Dr. Dodd, who concluded “2023 is just the beginning and it is your opportunity to build a long-term legacy for the region so, today, let’s celebrate!”
The ceremony concluded with a tasting of some creatively revisited versions of the gaufres recipe, offered by five chefs from the region: Jérémy Framery, Jardins de Bohain (Bohain-en-Vermandois); Solène Eliott, Hôtel de la Plage (Audresselles); Stéphane Bruyer, Ail des Ours (Amiens); Steven Ramon, Rouge Barre (Lille); Tom Truy-Courties, L’Auberge de Monceaux (Saint-Omer-en-Chaussée).
Since 27 September 2021, when Hauts-de-France was officially announced as European Region of Gastronomy 2023 at a press conference, 90 projects have already signed up through the dedicated website. They are all committed to take part in a year full of events showcasing local gastronomy and culture and ultimately aimed at ensuring a better quality of life for the local community.
About the World Regions of Gastronomy
Candidate and awarded World/European Regions of Gastronomy, guided by IGCAT, are working together to strengthen food security through the celebration of distinctive food cultures; create employment by stimulating creativity and gastronomic innovation; nourish children and adults through culinary and cultural education; driving environmental sustainability in tourism, hospitality and agricultural sectors; supporting balance and sustainable tourism practices; highlighting and supporting expertise from within rural and urban communities, creating connections and sharing good practices; and contributing to community health and well-being.
IGCAT aims to empower local communities by raising awareness of the importance of protecting and promoting distinct regional food, culture, arts and natural assets as part of sustainable and balanced tourism and development strategies. This is essential to safeguarding our planet, health, wellness 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 founded the World/European Region of Gastronomy Award and is the official secretariat for the World/European Regions of Gastronomy Platforms. Furthermore, the Institute has developed the European Young Chef Award, the World Food Gift Challenge, the Top Websites for Foodie Travelers Award and the international Food Film Menu.
Photo credit: Région européenne de la gastronomie Hauts-de-France