In a panel discussion hosted by the ‘Gastronomy by the Seine’ event, from the 4-6 July in Paris, president of the Unesco assembly of states Cherif Khaznadar announced that gastronomy does not fit the criteria when addressing the recent French bid to have its cuisine added to the Unesco list of world cultural treasures.
Khaznadar stated that ‘There is no category at Unesco for gastronomy. I am afraid that the presentation of a dossier on gastronomy will not get far.’ He added ‘Neither in spirit nor in writing can the convention include gastronomy’.
The criteria for joining the Unesco list include festive events, social practices, skills that link to traditional craftsmanship, rituals, dance and carnival. Unesco first drew up this list of cultural treasures in 2003.
Since French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s bid to Unesco in Feburary, describing the country’s cuisine as ‘the best gastronomy in the world’, other countries, particularly Italy, have protested that their own cuisine deserves equal recognition if the French bid were to be accepted.
When confronting French chef Guy Savoy on the matter, Italian cook Massimo Mori recently stated that ‘Italian gastronomy takes priority’.
He added ‘In the Middle Ages, our merchants imported spices, salt, sugar, and Venice invented courtly high gastronomy.’
In protest to the French bid, Italy has now joined Greece, Morocco and Spain to have the traditional Mediterranean diet added to the list.
The French bid will be presented to the UN educational, scientific and cultural body next year and the final verdict is due in 2010.