Excellence and creativity were the watch words on Monday, 21st March 2016 at the residence of His Excellency Joel Godeau, Ambassador of France accredited to Liberia, when the more than 100 guests who attended a gastronomic gala dinner were accorded French hospitality in its finest form.
The menu for the event showcased French gastronomy at its best and highlighted the talents of one of France’s renowned sons, Chef Jacques Laine, who served a variety of French cuisine excellently prepared and creatively displayed, to celebrate “Gout de France (Good France)”, an annual program presented by embassies of France the world over.
Among those who attended the festive occasion was President Pro-Tempore Armah Jallah and other members of the Liberian Senate and Legislature, and several Ministers and Cabinet Members of the Liberian government, among them Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara, Defense Minister Brownie Samukai and
Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Dr. Edward McClain Jr. Also in attendance were members of the Diplomatic Corps including the doyen, Guinean Ambassador Abdoulaye Dore, representatives of several international and non-governmental organizations including the European Union as well as members of the French Business Club of Liberia, an organization of 20 French companies operating in the country which has as its Secretary General, Mr. Jean-Michel Macia, Country Representative of BOLLORE Company (UMARCO).
In his welcome remarks Ambassador Godeau stated that French gastronomy is not only a part of the “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” distinguished by UNESCO, but is also an opportunity for celebrating the universal values of sharing and conviviality to which the French are so attached. He went on to give special thanks to members of the French Business Club, stressing that their active and strong commitment contributed to making the second edition of the gastronomic gala dinner possible.
Chef Jacques Laine, who accepted to come to Monrovia from Abidjan to prepare the dinner, was then described as “the real mastermind” of the event, and received a robust round of applause following his introduction as a son of the beautiful region of Normandy near Paris. Distinguished with two ‘Michelin
Stars’ when he operated restaurants in France as a younger man, Jacques later moved to Benin in West Africa where he worked for 17 years before relocating to la Cote d’Ivoire, where he now operates a restaurant, “le Jardin Gourmand”, first opened in 2014.
Ambassador Godeau then thanked leading Liberian artist Leslie Lumeh for providing an important side event for the occasion…this was an exhibition of new paintings under the theme “Liberia: Striding Forward in the Aftermath; A Post Ebola Celebration”. He informed his distinguished audience that Leslie was recently selected to represent Liberia at an exhibition mounted in the National Theatre of Chaillot in Paris under the theme “Lumieres d’Afrique (African Lights)” with one artist each from Africa’s 54 countries, adding that such an international participation makes Lumeh a national asset Liberians can be proud of.
In conclusion His Excellency described the mouthwatering menu: “terrine of duck Foie gras” and a “scallops carpaccio” for starters, a main course of pan fried beef tournedo with a selection of French cheese, and a tricolor dessert (all served with champagne, then white wine of Burgundy and red wine from the region of la Drome). He then wished his guests “bon appetite”.