2.9.14

Tous à Table Festival: Cuisine for a Cause

Tous à Table Food Festival

There are a number of attributes that make Paris a fine place to call home (or visit) but chief among them is the food and most of us (locals, bloggers, press....) spend a whole lot of time indulging in it, writing about it and even debating it. I would wager that 60% of my meals are consumed outside of the home, an investment that my husband and I balance out by holding onto our smallapartment. It is not just a life choice that allows us to do so but good fortune, to be sure.

Yet for many, dining out (and Gastronomy-with-a-capital-G) is an empty abstraction, prohibitively expensive and a glaring reminder of the disparity between the haves and the have nots. It matters little that the culinary arts are deeply embedded in the French cultural fiber when eating well - which today equates to eating fresh and predominantly local - requires increasingly deep pockets. But eating well should not be predicated on economic demographics or social capital and won't be if Flavio Nervegna has anything to say about it.

Tous à Table Food FestivalNervegna is the president of Tous à Table, an organization that strives to democratize le bien manger by making culinary experiences accessible to underprivileged or mentally precarious individuals. The concept also brings together people from diverse backgrounds and establishes a link between them through food- the flavors, the sensations, the discovery - for a symbolic contribution.

Last weekend, I had the chance to see the project in action at the first Tous à Table food festival, which was held at the recently refurbished Carreau du Temple. In collaboration with the Observatoire du Pain, whose abiding mission is to promote bread in France as a cultural pillar that bridges generations, the event united some of the food scene's most venerated talents to prepare recipes for the morning pastry brunch, early evening cocktail and special dinner open to all.

I attended the pastry brunch and found myself discussing the merits of Cyril Lignac's éclair selection (photo evidence below) with a young boy seated next to me (who had never tried anything like it before), swapping verdicts of Benoit Castel's Tarte à la Crème with his mother and crowing about Jacques Genin's vanilla cream puffs with nearby volunteers. But even more satisfying than the pastries themselves was witnessing the joy they conferred for guests of all ages.

The festival was only a taste of what lays ahead for Tous à Table and that's a future to get excited about. Scroll below for a few tasty highlights.

Tous à Table Food Festival
Tous à Table Food Festival
Tous à Table Food Festival
Tous à Table Food Festival
Tous à Table Food Festival
Tous à Table Food Festival
Tous à Table Food Festival
Tous à Table Food Festival

What do you think of the idea? 
To learn more about the Tous à Table organization, visit www.tousatable.com

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