9th Mar 2010
Top European chefs group Euro-toques International has re-grouped and expanded, and continues the fight to promote food quality and protect culinary heritage in the European states.
Established in 1986 by the top European Chefs at the time from Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland and the Netherlands, over its 25 year history Euro-toques – the European Community of Cooks – has expanded to encompass many more countries and recently has accepted memberships from some of the newly joined EU states; including Bulgaria, Romania and Poland. The founding purpose of the group was to defend the culinary traditions of each of the member states, to protect the quality of food available in Europe and to ensure that chefs would continue to be able to source local and artisan ingredients. The organisation was recognised by then EC President Jacques Delors as an official commentator on food quality issues to the EC.
Welcoming its new member countries at a recent General Assembly in Luxembourg, Euro-toques vowed to address the threats to food heritage and quality with renewed vigour and enthusiasm. The organisation elected a new Management Committee and European Food Committee, who have committed to working hard to further Euro-toques’ goals in Europe. Euro-toques Ireland, which was commended for its commitment to lobbying and public awareness at national level, was voted in as President of the European Food Committee of Euro-toques and will lead lobbying activity in Brussels, with the help of a new representative agency.
“Most decisions relating to food are being made at European level, so we need to work hard in Brussels”, commented Euro-toques Ireland President Feargal O’Donnell, “but each country also needs to look at how these laws are applied in their own country, as there is great variation. We are gravely concerned for some of the newly acceded countries and we will fight to ensure that their agri-food practices and traditions are not lost”.
Some of the main issues of concern to Euro-toques currently, and which they plan to work on over the coming year are:
- Protection of Traditional and Artisan food producers and traditional production methods;
- Euro-toques will continue to lobby for derogations from HACCP for small & local food producers using traditional/artisan production methods.
- In Ireland Euro-toques is negotiating for a ‘safety net’ group to individually examine the cases of any small or artisan producers who are at risk because of inability to meet compliance costs
- Safeguarding newly joined European Countries
o To avoid food traditions being lost and food quality being compromised
o To ensure that chefs and consumers continue to be able to buy quality local and traditional produce
Euro-toques Romania have said that chefs there have been restricted from buying local produce, as they are told that this does not comply to HACCP requirements.
o To ensure that European laws are implemented in a fair and balanced way by national authorities
- Food Education for Children
To continue their work of communicating messages of healthy eating and passion for food and cooking in the next generation, in order both to protect the health of our children and to carry on culinary traditions
· Endangered Product List
Euro-toques will continue to catalogue and highlight specific food and agricultural products from all the EU states which are under threat due to environmental threats or over-regulation, and seek ways to protect these.
Euro-toques International will also address any EU policies or regulations which relate to agricultural or food quality, or impact on food producers and chefs anywhere in Europe as they arise.
Euro-toques International President Daniel Rameau of Luxembourg commended Mr Bernard Fournier of France, who has been Secretary of the Food Committee for several years, for the hard work he had done for Euro-toques in Brussels.
“We are delighted to see many new young chefs moving through the ranks in Euro-toques and to have many new faces around the table”, he commented following the General Assembly in January, “We are entering a new phase. Safe-guarding our culinary heritage and protecting quality food production in Europe is more urgent than ever, and we are prepared to work harder than ever to ensure that European food traditions and quality agricultural produce are available to everyone for generations to come”.
The founding members of Euro-toques in 1986 were:
Pierre Romeyer – BELGIUM
Paul Bocuse – FRANCE
Juan-Mari Arzak – SPAIN
Myrtle Allen – IRELAND
Gualtiero Marchesi – ITALY
Cas Spijker – NETHERLANDS
Euro-toques International General Assembly 2010, held on 26 January, at Canach, Luxembourg under the Chairmanship of MR. Daniel Rameau of Luxembourg, President of Euro-toques International
Newly elected Management Committee of Euro-toques International
FOOD COMMITTEE PRESIDENT