The first World Cuisine Summit, held in January, took place in Lyon, France
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Food as Messiah

Stephanie Curtis / March 15th, 2013

Lyon, France—“Better foodservice for a better life” was the theme and challenge of the first World Cuisine Summit, held January 28, 2013, during the 30th edition of Sirha, the world’s largest restaurant and hotel show, drawing 185,450 participants here to France’s largest gastronomic capital.

Over 700 professionals attended the one-day summit, an ambitious meeting alternating live presentations and mini debates by a stellar line-up of experts.

Dubbed by some the “Davos” of the food industry, this initiative, under the honorary presidency of Paul Bocuse, focused on the future of restaurants, and grew out of a two year qualitative and quantitative study of the industry that spanned 10 countries, commissioned by Sirha.

The speaker’s podium was occupied one after the other by an international trend tracker, a nutritionist and cancer expert, directors of multinational foodservice groups—Olaf Koch of Metro, Germany; Franck Riboud of Danone, France; Jean-Pierre Petit of McDonald’s, Europe; and founders of food movements, notably Carlo Petrini (Slow Food) and Luc Dubranchet (Omnivore). There were also restaurant designers, including a punchy video message from Philippe Starck: “My job is to manage the energy,” plus debates and demonstrations by top chefs, including Michel Guérard, Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse, Joël Robuchon, Yannick Alleno, and Magnus Nilsson. Each main speaker had 12 minutes to present his vision of how to make the world a better food place.

Solutions were as varied as participants’ profiles. Tristram Stuart, author of Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal and militant crusader against food waste, came on stage with a tray overflowing with foodstuffs garnered that morning from the garbage can of his hotel. Dominique Giraudier, managing director of France’s Groupe Flo, asserted that today “Power is in the hands of those with a quality product.” IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, slated to participate in person but unexpectedly retained elsewhere, sent a recorded closing address also focusing on waste, the mismanagement of resources, and the urgency of responsible agriculture.

The summit’s study base, Trends and Ideas Book and Research Report is available for purchase by professionals at http://www.sirha.com/world-cuisine-summit-surveys.