Accueil Chefs Les Grandes Tables du Monde : And even the world is not enough… 

Les Grandes Tables du Monde : And even the world is not enough… 

by Preschey Marilou

The international opening of French gastronomy has been around for a while. Many French chefs have been pioneers by opening establishments in all corners of the globe. And if, at the start, the Grandes Tables du Monde association was a French brand, it followed suit so much so that foreign chefs are now the most numerous to send their applications. 192 members on five continents. Seventeen new tables this year, fifteen of which are abroad: Julien Royer tells us Asia sees the association, the head of Atomix testifies from New York, and David Sinapian continues to look straight ahead.

The perspective of foreign chefs by Julien Royer

Julien Royer (Odette and Claudine in Singapore) is delegated abroad to the chefs. Those interested in Les Grandes Tables du Monde contact him to establish the first contact and discuss the state of mind of the association and the conditions for joining.  «Foreign chefs are quite admiring of the selection of members. We have an undeniable qualitative image, the history, and the prestige of a network that has barely 200 houses worldwide. Some new entrants are barely in their forties. The international reputation of the association attracted them, and when they asked me how to get in, they had stars in their eyes. Beyond the selection criteria, they were especially interested in one question: Can we participate and give our opinion? Of course!»

« It’s a unique network of exchanges with a diversity of places and identities. An exceptional global platform made up of people passionate about this profession and who have a vision. The decisive opinions of strong personalities also propel us forward.»

Food for thought

«The congress is where we come together to discuss our professions. How can we make it more attractive? How do we attract new talents? How do we unite to find solutions together that benefit everyone? The board wanted to highlight all the professions in fine dining by restoring nobility to service roles and demonstrating that one can have great careers in them. It is our duty and responsibility to emphasize that even with the most beautiful kitchen in the world, without a sommelier or a maitre d’hotel, it will fall flat.» 

How did the association achieve this shift? « We don’t forget what has been done, and we build upon it because it forms our foundations: the passion for excellence in cuisine and hospitality, and the spirit of sharing within a strong and collegial bond. There is real diversity within the board, and it is reflected in our decisions. David knew how to surround himself with different people who made the collective grow. He made Les Grandes Tables du Monde known abroad and introduced his international vision within the association. Since they are big names, their open-mindedness is incredible and comes naturally.» 

Julien Royer

Young entrants are breaking the codes.

«The diversity of the association’s members is our strength. Les Grandes Tables du Monde is not an exclusive club of restaurants where the carpet is fifteen centimeters high, and you can’t enter without a bow tie! You have charming classic houses, and at the same time, the new entrants are breaking the codes. Look at the cuisine of « JP » at Atomix: you travel to Korea in a hyper-modern setting. And Daniel Calvert in Sézanne: an Englishman who cooks French cuisine in Tokyo! All these tables have in common the passion of the people who work there without ever taking shortcuts on quality.»

«The diversity of members within the association is our strength»

«Les Grandes Tables du Monde is not a closed club of restaurants where the carpet is fifteen centimeters thick and you can’t enter without a bow tie! You have very beautiful classic establishments, and at the same time, new entrants are breaking the norms. Look at the cuisine at JP’s Atomix: you travel to Korea in a hyper-modern setting. And Daniel Calvert in Sézanne: an Englishman cooking French cuisine in Tokyo! The common thread among all these establishments is the passion of the people who work there, never compromising on quality»

« Us, French chefs, are strong in our gastronomic roots. Some even feel all-powerful. But as soon as we start traveling, we immediately feel smaller, » explains Julien Royer. He is absolutely right. Opening up, listening, tasting, learning from others: through travel, the chef of Odette has grown. All French chefs who have taken this approach have had the same sensation: Initially, we fall from the pedestal where our « Escoffier » foundations had raised us, before building a rich identity that combines our roots with our successive openings to the world and to different cultures. And there, we become ourselves.»

The new generation : the perspective of “JP“ in New York

Chef Junghyun « JP » Park (Atomix Restaurant in New York) is one of the new 2024 members. We asked him about his representation of the association and why he wanted to be part of it: 

«Joining Les Grandes Tables du Monde means having the opportunity to interact with representatives of the best restaurants on the planet to compare your vision of excellence with that of your peers and to think together about a better future, nourished through these exchanges and reflections. We all have a different idea of ​​what the culinary art can be at its peak, but we have in common this desire to rise to the highest level of cuisine and the art of service, with an emphasis on creating unique gastronomic experiences that go beyond a simple meal, and where every detail is thoroughly thought.»

«At Atomix, we focus on innovative gastronomy and exceptional service that enhances the art of storytelling in each dish. Becoming a member of the association is an honor and an important recognition of our restaurant’s commitment, which applies every day to pushing the limits of what haute cuisine can offer our customers. »

Junghyun « JP » Park, (Atomix Restaurant in New York)

David Sinapian always looks ahead

That day, at the end of the 68th Congress of the Great Tables of the World, I asked him to look in the rearview mirror because his ten years in office were looming. Two strong axes are emblematic and summarize his actions as President of the association since 2014.

The Great Restaurateurs of the World, David Sinapian’s vision

«Opening up internationally was a priority for me, it’s true, and we want to open up to countries still poorly represented here, such as Northern Europe, Japan, or South America. But there was also a second point, just as crucial to ensure sustainability: Les Grandes Tables du Monde had to remain an association of restaurateurs. This word is emblematic because it symbolizes my ten years in office. Only in France is the chef more in the spotlight than the other players in the establishment. Abroad, they have a more modern concept where all professions are valued. I held on to bring together a multitude of visions, and that of the restaurateur is the right one because it does not oppose room and kitchen. The restaurateur is the one who embodies their house. A man or a woman, in the dining room or in the kitchen, is a strong player in running his house by giving meaning to the entire team’s activity.»

« The word ‘restaurateur’ is emblematic and symbolizes my 10 years in office. I held firm to bring together a multitude of visions, and that of the restaurateur is the right one because it does not oppose the dining room and the kitchen. »

David Sinapian

The applications from abroad

« The applications we receive from all five continents are all different: the cuisine, the style of the venue, the local flavors, the personalities… This diversity is magical, and we learn from each establishment. They all offer exceptional experiences where we let ourselves be carried away. »

Each member is an ambassador 

«Because it had always been their dream, some called us the day after the Michelin ceremony (when they had obtained two stars, a criterion the association kept to enter the association). And if they come with us, it is for the right reasons: not so that it brings them customers, but to join a group where we can discuss our different visions of catering. The early « private club » provided a line of friendship that is our strength. But today, it goes much further: people inspire each other while keeping their personalities.»

And tomorrow?

«We will work on the brand’s visibility among the public. This is one of the challenges of the coming years while continuing to encourage exchanges between members and strengthening our bond of belonging to a network celebrating its 70th anniversary, but it has never advanced this far.»

The vision of a fine dining restaurant by David Sinapian: «In the past, people came to restaurants to eat. Today, they come to experience a complete exceptional moment, which is about the story we will tell them, the way we welcome them, and making them taste the best cuisine possible. And we consider our clients from the moment they make a reservation. Yannick Alléno calls this the ‘table concierge.’ We prepare for their arrival by creating with them the most sincere personal relationship possible.»

 

Dive into the history of the association through the perspective of Marc Haeberlin and Antonio Santini :

Le site de l’association Les Grandes Tables du Monde

Also worth reading: other article from « Coeur des Chefs » about Les Grandes Tables du Monde:

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