French Stars Cook Up a Storm at Paris des Chefs Event

Carole Bouquet - P 2011
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Carole Bouquet and Francois Berleand are among the A-list French celebs who came out to schmooze and sautee with famous chefs from across the globe.

PARIS - France's seventh art met the art of cuisine as actress Carole Bouquet, actors Francois Berleand and Francois Xavier Demaison plus famed pianist Wynton Marsalis schmoozed and sauteed with famous French chefs at the Paris des Chefs event that ran from Sunday through Tuesday in the French capital. 

This year’s tasty event was headed by legendary Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse and featured appearances and demos from famous chefs from across the globe including American gourmets Blaine Wetzel, David Kinch, Daniel Patterson and French foodies Alain Passard, Yannick Alleno and Thierry Marx.

As part of the event's "duos" program, famous chefs partnered with different artists, designers and film talents to cook meals on stage in a vast auditorium. 

Legendary French film actress Bouquet joined famed French chef Anne-Sophie Pic to cook a creative beet salad before the actress hosted a wine tasting for her Sangue d'Oro wine that she produces herself on the island Pantelleria near Sicily.

"It goes along with our job," Bouquet said of the affinity of actors for great food and wine. She added: "I once refused to work with a director because we went out for lunch and when I saw what he ate for lunch, I decided I couldn't work with him." However, Bouquet doesn't plan to leave the stage and screen for a career in oenology anytime soon. "Cuisine is a life, not a job," she told The Hollywood Reporter, adding: "I am lucky that I happen to know some great chefs, but it's a part of my everyday life, not work.  I got into wine-making by accident and I do it out of love. The two aren't linked for me."

Bouquet pointed out that her wine sells well stateside, particularly in NY and Miami. According to Bouquet, restaurants and wine connaisseurs like her product because of its backstory. "Like all wines, sommeliers love a good story. They love people and the stories behind them. They know I'm authentic."

Now in its fourth year, Paris des Chefs coincides with design showcase Maison & Objet, and this year marked the first time the event was held in central Paris at the recently renovated Maison de la Mutualité instead of at Maison & Objet's expo hall in a nearby suburb.

"We loved the idea of chefs working with artists on stage. It really tells a story," the event's communications director Philippe Chomat said in an interview. He added: "It creates a spectacle and there are always moments of emotion." This year, for the first time, the chefs partnered with not only architects and designers, but also actors and actresses, bringing the film biz into the world of food and design. "Food festivals exist everywhere, but we have the particularity of these chef-talent duos. Chefs have become stars and stars want to work with the chefs," Chomat explained. This year's event was open to the public and organizers estimated that around 1,500 - 2,000 people attended every day. "French gastronomy is no longer inaccessible," Chomat said.  

Famed jazz musician Marsalis braved his fear of flying to join longtime friend Kinch of California's famed Manresa restaurant for a chef-talent duo in Paris. The two have known each other since they were 15 years old. "We were in biology class together. He knew he'd be a chef even then," Marsalis told THR, adding: "He's been an inspiration to me. He's such a serious thinker about cuisine. I have such respect for his greatness and humanity." Kinch added:

"I wish it was like this all the time - cooking with Wynton's music. Plus, Paris is inspiring as a chef." Kinch will be filmed for a documentary produced by Franco-German TV network Arte.