The French Art Of Sex
with Nina Slawek

Caroline Putnoki, Atout France & Peter Ouellette, TDC

Mélanie Paul-Hus, Atout France & Chef Mathieu Viannay

Unveiling of the France Guide Excellence

Caroline Putnoki, Director for Canada, France Tourism Development Agency and Mr Marc Bechet, General Manager of the Rhône-Alpes Tourism Board

Everything in France is an art. The architecture, countryside, wine, fashion and, most importantly, the food. That was the message at a swank soiree at Toronto’s Windsor Arms, hosted by Atout France to launch their new France Guide Excellence – which for the first time was entirely conceived and developed by the tourist board’s Montreal marketing team.

According the evening’s MC, CBC’s Suhana Meharchand, the culinary delights being proffered in mouthwatering little tid-bits were the culmination of food art: sexy food. The creator of the gastronomical orgy was none other than decorated chef Mathieu Viannay, proprietor of the landmark La Mere Brazier in Lyons, cradle of the Rhône-Alpes region. He saved the historic restaurant from ruin in 2008 and earned it two Michelin stars within the first 6 months. When I asked Chef Viannay what the secret to being a great chef is, he said it is a passion for pleasing people, combined with solid business skills. Although he manages 60 people and three restaurants, he claims not a dish gets served that he hasn’t had a hand in.

The food was just one example of the ‘excellence’ theme which the France Tourism Development Agency has adopted to unite a number of French luxury brands in promoting all things France. All things excellent included the new Guerlain perfume, Idylle, L’Occitane products, and the Rhône-Alpes region which, according to Mr Marc Bechet, General Manager of Rhône-Alpes Tourism, between the skiing, the wine and Hermes, the region has enough excellence to spare to Provence. A little excellent regional rivalry spurs one to even more, er, excellence.

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