Release of the book of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (Best Craftsmen in France) Volume 3

Excerpt from the book:

It is exceptional to find so much talent in one book.

Over 90 of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (Best Craftsmen in France) generously share their recipes, experiences and associations with chefs from far-off places.

These cooks, pastry chefs, ice cream makers, chocolate makers, bakers, pork butchers-delicatessens, butchers, cheesemongers, fishmongers, greengrocers, maîtres d’hôtel and sommeliers make up the elite of food and catering professionals in France.

They are models, ambassadors of French know-how and gastronomic heritage. But above all, they are men and women with a passion, driven by the idea of creating enjoyment.

Louis Le Duff, President and Founder of Le DUFF Group, invites you to feed on each page of this book, without moderation, to discover exceptional flavours and stories.”

Louis Le Duff

What is the purpose of this book?

This book follows on from the first two volumes published in 2009 and 2010, in which the recipes of the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (Best Craftsmen in France) were collated. I took this initiative because I have always shared the fundamental values of these artisans, who strive for excellence through manual skills and work. I have vast admiration for these men and women, who have strong personalities, who have won their title all by themselves – albeit with support from their peers and masters – and who embody French know-how and art de vivre. They owe their success to their work, and I can identify with this thirst for effort and a job well done. Lastly, because this book mainly concerns food professions, I can rediscover my love for French culinary heritage, terroirs and quality products.

What is new in this book compared to the earlier volumes?

To start with, it contains the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France who received their title in recent years. In addition to the recipes, we wanted to present the testimonials of some of them, in order to better identify their exceptional personalities and understand the path they have travelled to access the supreme title of their profession. Lastly, these chefs elected to introduce us to one of their peers working abroad, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France or not, French or other, which gives us an international dimension and shows the diversity and wealth of those who share the same passion for cuisine. In this world, it is important for each person to preserve their own identity, and it is the role of a book like this to promote our culinary heritage, whether traditional or contemporary. This is also what we hope to do with BRIDOR, which spreads every day and all over the world a little bit of this French identity thanks to bakery products and Viennese pastries. This reputation also exists thanks to the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, with whom we work to make our products. With them, we aim to be proud of the quality of our products, every day.

Gérard Rapp

What does this book represent for the Society of Meilleurs Ouvriers de France?

The food professions have got wind in their sails. They have won over the media and public; the phenomenon is global. We our proud that they drive the Society; they contribute largely to our visibility, but they are not the only ones. For example, this book represents many areas of expertise, which all come together. As a printer, I cannot say otherwise! It’s a joy to flick through the pages, to smell the ink and the paper. The book still has a future faced with the virtual world, even though we are fully aware that it is impossible to ward off technological progress.

What does the future hold for this Society?

This acceleration of progress is not incompatible with the work of craftsmen. It is a word with meaning. It means a person who transforms an idea with his hands, thanks to his talent. There needs to be equal consideration for academic and professional training. We still have work to do, but I believe it is the role of the MOF to inspire future generations and to accompany the new disciplines of the 21st century. This competition was created to give recognition to manual work. We still believe in this, just like in the past Lucien Klotz, who invented the competition, René Petit, who set up the association, and today Louis Le Duff who promotes the work of the MOF. We are not ignoring the past, but we must follow progress, which is not the same for a chef as for someone working in the industrial or high-tech sector. The title of MOF conveys excellence and exception specific to France, which must hold on to its leadership both in France and internationally. A profession that dies is a loss for us. We cannot save something which is outdated, but we can support its evolution. It is essential to recognise plurality and equality of the roads to excellence, and we will always have a role to play in this.