Alain Ducasse Takes Center Stage at Cannes (Cannes)

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The celebrity chef's presence at the festival's Electrolux Agora Pavilion is the latest melding of cuisine and big-ticket film events.

Forget slumming it in a sleeping bag. Sundance was nothing short of a luxurious feast this year. Alongside the dinner series, the Napa Valley Film Festival hosted a luxurious soiree featuring food and wine from top vineyards and restaurants from the region, which upped the ante and has to have been one of the most memorable festival parties in decades.

And these dinners also offer a chance for representatives from different industries to get together, from fashion to vino, to swap notes.

In Berlin, journalists, bored of film talk, listened eagerly to insights on the world of wine from Arturaola. “Hong Kong is now the world center for wine, as New York and London can’t keep up,” he said. “One, because they don’t have the storage space and the other because their Internet is too slow.”

Dinners at festivals have long been part of the attraction, from the lavish Vanity Fair events to exclusive Cannes dinners at the Hotel Du Cap-Eden-Roc where jeweler Di Grisogono invited 600-plus guests to dine on the terrace.

But never before have so many chefs been presented as the main feature of these events.

"These festivals for chefs are getting bigger and bigger because of the media and television, but in general it’s just nice to interact with people who share the same interests,” Glocker said. “Food and wine are always bringing people together. The location doesn’t really matter — it’s all about food and wine."

Going back to long before this became a trend, the American Pavilion did its bit to bring the next generation into the fold, with the Cannes Culinary Program, which was launched in 1997. “The program offers young chefs the opportunity to feed thousands of attendees at the festival, from directors such as Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese to the numerous actors, filmmakers and industry executives who make their way through Ampav’s doors,” said program director Walter Harris.

The Cannes Culinary team will prepare up to 1,000 meals per day, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners and special event menus for receptions and parties. The team fly in from all over the world and this year includes a number of young chefs such as Alyssa Failla, 23, Ravine Rambox, 32 and Jennifer Gomez, 23, of the Culinary Institute of America in Poughskeepie, New York, as well as Christopher Laflin, 24, of Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School in Pasadena.

And celebrity chefs are not the only ones making the trek to the world’s film festivals. Over the past decade, fashion players have made their presence known in the film world with increasing fervor. These days, they are not just there to dress the stars but operate as active player in these events. Think Chopard sponsoring Cannes to the French jewelers Piaget being an upscale sponsor of the Independent Spirit Awards, which would seem like an unlikely combination but makes sense to the brand. "It suits our image and is not too stuffy," said Paiget’s Cecille Lemarie who attended the event this year. Piaget hosted a delicately decorated designer lounge to view the awards outside the main Spirit Awards tent.

And so It seems that it was only a matter of time before appliances wanted their red carpet moment too.

“Electrolux has a long heritage of working with many of the professionals responsible for creating the A-list lifestyle, whether through food, styling or design.  We want to raise awareness that Electrolux products have always been used by the very best creative experts and to pass on their knowledge to our consumers so that they can achieve the red carpet style they see in the film world,” said Gannon.
“We believe that many of our consumers aspire for the lifestyle they see on the big screen. This can go from wearing a breathtaking dress to recreating a specific dinner scene or even a meal,” he added.

Arturaola summed up the festival foodie trend nicely: “I never thought I would be the star of a film festival.”

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