InvestigationRiding on their success on TV and on social networks, chefs are launching without complex into local gastronomy, democratizing the quality restaurant. A phenomenon that attracts big brands.
A cuisine inspired by Africa and Japan, a flawless career at the Mandarin Oriental with Thierry Marx, a remarkable passage in “Top Chef”, a restaurant in Paris that quickly starred, a TV show for him all to himself, a top ten ranking “new generation leaders” from the magazine Time in 2021 alongside Greta Thunberg… Without claiming to revolutionize the planet like the young Swedish activist, Mory Sacko, 29, clearly embodies the revival of the world of blue-white-red gastronomy. What does the generation of chefs he belongs to cook up? They play with conventions and energize their profession. With a vision often less elitist than their predecessors.
The appetite of the French for everything related to the pleasures of the table gives free rein to young chefs. Over the past decade, cooking has changed in status: from chore, it has often become pleasure or even leisure. The health crisis has accentuated this enthusiasm. Two-thirds of the population cook daily, according to a study by the IFOP polling institute in October 2020, and the whole family got involved during the confinements. With a lot of tutorials and chef videos on the Internet, but also TV shows, starting with “Top Chef”, whose audience broke records between February and June 2021.
On the Instagram social network, “The dynamic of this food theme has not waned”, says Edouard Braud, director of partnerships at Meta with content creators in continental Europe. The undisputed success of the hashtag #faitmaison and the number of new fans garnered by certain cooks and pastry chefs are two major markers of this trend.
The feeling of closeness to the chefs has thus been significantly strengthened for the general public, analyzes the general manager Opinion of the IFOP group, Frédéric Dabi: “We easily identify with them who carry values of truth and authenticity, in tune with the times. They become real role models. » The appearance of two personalities in the kitchen (Cédric Grolet and Philippe Etchebest) in the “Top 50 favorite personalities of the French” organized by The JDD, at the end of 2020, testifies to this. And the kitchen, long considered a siding, now arouses many vocations.
A symbol of conviviality and social life, the restaurant stands out more than ever as “an essential dimension of French life”, notes François Blouin, president and founder of Food Service Vision. This research firm noted a “quasi-return to normal in attendance [des restaurants] in major cities since the lifting of all health restrictions, despite the context of inflation”. The only exceptions are the palaces of Paris and the Côte d’Azur, which are still suffering from the absence of part of their international clientele.
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