Pascale Tozzi — Carioca
Founded in 1954, your association now brings together the best restaurants in the world. Tell us about its history, its values, its philosophy.

When the association of Les Grandes Tables du Monde was established in 1954 by six restaurateur friends Jean Barnagaud (Prunier), André Vrinat (Taillevent), René Lasserre (Lasserre), Claude Terrail (La Tour d’Argent), Raymond Oliver (Le Grand Véfour) and Louis Vaudable (Maxim’s), the ambition was to promote a lofty conception of French gastronomic traditions. However, our founders evoked the desire to see a world association of restaurateurs reunited. In 1957, 3 years later, we welcomed our first foreign member (Marcel Kreusch from Villa Lorraine in Brussels)!

Our association currently brings together 188 establishments, spread over 25 countries and is present on five continents. All linked by the same desire to offer a unique gastronomic and sensory experience these members are today the ambassadors of rare culinary excellence, which is expressed between traditions, transmission and innovation.

“When cooking is an art, it is always a pleasure to appreciate those of others”1.

Coming out of the unique French fold, gastronomy and the demanding professions that flow from it have become a global affair, an enthusiasm which we are proud to promote.

1 Extract from the press release of the Traditions et Qualité Association, former appellation of the Grandes Tables du monde, distributed in 1988.

What are the main new features of the 2020 guide?

Presented on January 27 in the salons of the Pavillon Ledoyen this year, our guide welcomed 13 new-found members from 10 countries but only one French, the magnificent Casadelmar in Porto-Vecchio! It is true that in recent years, we have not stopped conquering new territories: 75% of our current members were located outside of France.
From Lung King Heen, Chan Yan Tak’s Hong Kong restaurant inspired by traditional Chinese cuisine, to L’Olivo by Andrea Migliaccio, in the heart of the Capri Palace in Italy, via Manresa by David Kinch, a significant player in Californian culinary art, all come to enrich with their diverse point of view and culture on what our vision of contemporary cooking must be today.
Our association is diverse today, but is above all consistent because we all share the same questions, the same challenges and the same ambitions. This is what makes us strong: forging links, opening conversation and offering moments of sharing and exchanges between members!

Faced with the Covid-19 crisis, what was the policy of the Grandes Tables du Monde?

The strength of our community was fundamental in facing it with the will to get through it with an intact spirit of conquest. To accompany and support our members, we have increased the number of virtual meetings. We follow the calendar of the reopening of various countries, to offer the possibility to our members to exchange and share their experiences.

Photo: Kris Maccotta