Praised then shunned, fusion cuisine is once again currying favor. The proof? At Taste France Magazine, the “Mix & Match Challenge” is shaping up to be a key fall event. It is a perfect opportunity to look back on half a century of mixing and cooking with French products. Somewhere between love and hate.
1970s. Chefs Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé, Pierre Troisgros, Alain Chapel and others set out to conquer the world. Nouvelle Cuisine was causing a stir. In France of course, but also in the United States, Asia and more. These multi-starred chefs came back from their numerous food trips with their heads full of ideas and new dishes. Like Michel Guérard and his “drunk lobster” inspired by a crab soup with rice wine he tasted in China. The dish was dreamy. And it all took off from there. In the 1980s, Jean-Georges Vongerichten was one of the first chefs in France to take his pots and pans abroad. He chose Bangkok. With a rich heritage from home and local products, the Alsatian chef got to work. The beginnings of French fusion cuisine...
The insanity begins
A decade later, the restaurants in major cities started mixing just about anything: from Coca Cola chicken to chocolate spring rolls… It was one mix too many. In France in any case, diners were over the melting pot, and a return to tradition was in order. The 2000s were for the locavores. Terroir and eco-responsibility were the guiding principles for the chefs of the day. The culmination of this quest for collective comfort: 2010, when the gastronomic meal of the French was registered as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Does the preservation of tradition herald the death of fusion cuisine?
Mix & match, take two
Society is watching! It starts with an insatiable curiosity. Foodies travel everywhere. That is what's new in the kitchen. While chefs have always wandered the world, now their diners do as well. They are always ready to discover a country, a region or a city through their best restaurants. The result? Upon their return, these well-informed diners clamor for surprises and discoveries that make sense. The whole world is fusion, now cuisine is following suit! Taste France Magazine gets it. This autumn, the magazine that promotes French products and cuisine abroad is launching the “Mix & Match Challenge”. After a one-week trip to Paris, six YouTubers from five different countries return to their TV set kitchens where their fusion fancies can hardly be contained. First broadcasts on November 8th. Good luck!