A British and French food fight in Beijing
He’s waving a French flag, and throwing little Eiffel Tower key chains to the audience.
Suddenly, he bursts into song, with a rendition of Edith Piaf’s La Vie en Rose, accompanied by a tiny crank music box.
French chef Cyril Rouquet-Prevost is something of an ambassador for his country — particularly its food — but he’s surely having more fun than the average diplomat.
One way he tells the story of his country’s cuisine is through a longrunning, humorous cooking “duel” with British chef JamesMcIntosh.
The Brit dismisses French food as pretentious, and the Frenchman expresses mock astonishment that there might be such a thing as British cuisine.
The two kept an audience laughing at the recent Beijing International BookFair, where they prepared a series of dishes together onstage at the fair’s show kitchen — including a mango dessert famously prepared for Queen Elizabeth II.
Once he was done with his own presentation, Rouquet lingered in the show kitchen to assist other chefs with their own demonstrations, including Malaysia’s ChefWan, with whom Rouquet had previously worked with to cook for the Queen ofMalaysia.
Though Rouquet proudly represented French cuisine, he also embraces Chinese culture.
He has been to China several times over the past few years, participating in such events as the Beijing International Culinary Competition.
He believes there are similarities in the ways French and Chinese chefs learn, and he appreciates the respect Chinese people afford chefs. He also highlights how Chinese food tries to waste as little as possible, using every part of an animal, noting this is similar to the French approach.
Rouquet has more projects coming up in China.
He’s currently working on aTVshow with McIntosh and Chinese chef Simon Liu.
The show — titled Entente Cordiale in reference to the agreements that improved British-French relations in the early 20th century after almost a millennium of rivalry— will pit French and British chefs against one another as they compete to give their best interpretations of local recipes.
The show, meant to be educational as well as entertaining, won Best Food Script at theWorld Gourmand Awards held in Yantai, Shandong province, earlier this year.
Rouquet strives to introduce French food to Chinese people in a way that highlights its lighthearted and uncomplicated side.
Bistro Ginger in Shanghai has found its own place in the competitive market for the dishes with influences of various countries.
French chef Cyril Rouquet-Prevost introduces French food to Chinese people in a way that highlights its lighthearted and uncomplicated side.