Speech by Catherine Baschet at Indian Embassy in Paris

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Your Excellency, Mrs. Apoorva Srivastava, Mr. Monish Gujral, Ladies and Gentlemen, Chefs and students,

Good evening!
It is an honor for me to be here with you tonight, to celebrate the talent of the renowned Monish Gujral, Chef, restaurateur and passionate about the culinary arts.

Firstly, please allow me to address you a few words on behalf of Mr. André Cointreau, President of Le Cordon Bleu international, who regrets that he is unable to be here with us this evening.

As a member of the Alliance Française Foundation, who is present this evening, I shall therefore address you in French.

May I call your attention to a few of the key points that Monish Gujral and Le Cordon Bleu have in common when we talk of success?

First of all, transmission: success can only be achieved through this fundamental mission.
This is how Monish Gujral carries on the work that his grandfather started; by the transmission of North India’s culinary traditions.
You see, his grandfather has transmitted two signature dishes that have become a must in Indian cuisine: Tandoori chicken and Punjabi Butter chicken.

And as one of our French gastronomes from the 19th century, Brillat-Savarin, once wrote in his book, The physiology of taste “The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity than the discovery of a new star.”

Our concept of transmission, 94 years for Monish Gujral‘s family and just 120 years for Le Cordon Bleu. We both transmit culinary techniques applicable to cuisine the world over.

Another way to meet with success: Is international development.
Monish Gujral has been able to develop an extensive network of restaurants, not only in his country, but also in Qatar, Oman, Dubai, London and soon in New York.
For our part, Le Cordon Bleu, founded in Paris, is now present in 20 countries with 50 schools, training over 20, 000 students every year including Indian students.

I would like to add that India is a very important country for us. For example, we have signed a partnership agreement with the Goenka University School of Hospitality of New Delhi in management studies.

And only recently, Oliver Mahut, pastry Chef at the Cordon Bleu, here with us tonight, is just back from his first trip to India where he gave culinary demonstrations on classical French pastry.

And let me tell you that whilst he was there, he was also invited to taste the famous “butter chicken” in one of Monish Gujral’s restaurants! And, from what he had to say, it was delicious!

Moreover, in 2010, Monish Gujral was invited to Le Cordon Bleu Paris, and honored our students and Chefs with a superb demonstration of his butter chicken recipe, and that left an impression on our gustatory recollection after his visit. This just goes to show that cultural and culinary discoveries have not finished amazing!

And a third point to finish: success through publications.
This is also one of the reasons for our presence here this evening at the Indian Embassy.
Le Cordon Bleu first published under the title La cuisinière Cordon Bleu, a weekly magazine founded in 1895.
Publication is still one of our auxiliary activities today.

And on his side, Monish Gujral also started publishing with Penguin Random Editions and won awards with his books: On the Kebab Trail, in 2014 and Tandoori cuisine, in 2010 during the prestigious Gourmand Cookbook Awards that we are proud to be a partner and, which is the world’s largest organization promoting culinary books.

This organization, and great family, is made up of writers, photographers, editors, journalists, and presided over by Mr. Edouard Cointreau who is none other than our President’s, Mr. André Cointreau’s brother.

His motto is “Cooking with words”

Both of Monish Gujral’s books won awards from amongst the 10 000 culinary books published throughout the world every year, which were awarded in China on May 2014 and Paris in 2010 at the Paris Cookbook Fair, hosted by Gourmand International.

Congratulations, Monish Gujral, you who give flavor to the World.

We will appreciate, all in attendance here, when there is a school in Paris dedicated to Indian cuisine.

We will be hosting the finals of an on-line competition in France with Indian ingredients and French amateurs on March 11, 2014. The Indian Embassy in Paris, who is sponsoring the prizes, will invite Monish Gujral as a member of the jury.

We also look forward to 2016, with “the season of India in France” event and thus further our cultural and culinary relations.

Thank-you for your attention.
Catherine Baschet

First chef from India to be invited to Le cordon Bleu to demonstrate in Paris. Monish is credited with the trailblazing turn-around of Moti Mahal, from being a small but iconic presence in Delhi, to becoming a multi-national corporation that is well on its way to defining how the world eats Indian food. A traditionalist, Monish has remained true to the signature dishes that made Moti Mahal a legend, while reinventing the dining experience into one that is exciting and avant garde to suit modern sensibilities.

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