A Bri­tish and French food fight in Bei­jing

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE | DINING - By CLAIRE BOU­QUET For China Daily

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.

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