5 questions for Mathilde Dewilde, Head of Communication & Restaurant Management at the Taste of Paris festival

Mathilde Dewilde, Head of Communication & Restaurant Management at the Taste of Paris festival, an annual event dedicated to gastronomy, tells us about the event’s history, past highlights and some of the special activities and events in store this year! The festival will take place from 9 to 12 May in the stunning Nave of the Grand Palais.

Taste of Paris vue aérienne nef Grand Palais

Can you tell us a bit about Taste of Paris?

For the past 5 years, Taste of Paris has been celebrating Paris’ culinary and gastronomic scene with this major festival held in the Nave of the Grand Palais. For 4 days, 40 chefs from 15 restaurants and 2 patisseries offer their signature dishes and latest creations as bitesize samples. Frédéric Anton, Romain Meder, Nicolas Sale, Thierry Marx, Eric Frechon, Denny Imbroisi, Pierre Sang Boyer, Maison Verot, Fauchon, Philippe Conticini, etc., these master chefs and patissiers come together to offer a festive and uninhibited gastronomic experience. Taste of Paris also has around 100 exhibitors from all over France coming to showcase and sell their products and converse with the public. It’s a unique platform that aims to make gastronomy more accessible in the nonetheless prestigious setting of the Grand Palais.

What have been some of the highlights of the festival since it was first held?

Taste of Paris plat

The real highlight every year is always the magical link that’s created between the chefs, the farmers and the public. Over the years it’s really become our trademark. It’s these unique exchanges that make the event so popular. We also have the pleasure of welcoming celebrities from the world of cinema and television. We believe that gastronomy is something that really excites people and brings them together. We also witness chefs interacting with their peers, now that they are away from their kitchens. It’s become a landmark networking event even for chefs not participating in the festival but who just enjoy being there.

What are some of the activities planned for this year?

Taste of Paris concert

This 5th edition is a record year for us with over 40 chefs participating in Taste of Paris, which is a big first and shows the impact that the event has had on the catering sector. We’ll be welcoming back the Laurent-Perrier Theatre with about 20 chefs presenting their best recipes, as well as the Electrolux Workshop where everyone can come and learn from master chefs in cooking classes. Our partners, a cornerstone of the festival, also play a valuable part demonstrating their commitment to the world of gastronomy to an exceptional, captivated and passionate audience.

How is the gastronomy sector doing? What are the trends?

The gastronomy sector has had the wind in its sails for the past few years, and despite recent events that have impacted reservations and how often people visit certain restaurants, things are still looking pretty bright. We welcomed 30,000 visitors last year, Top Chef is in its 10th season, people are going crazy for these patisseries that are making waves on social media, chefs are adored by the public – we’re riding a wave and it’s showing that gastronomy inspires and excites people. Of course this does still present a challenge for restaurants, so we’re here to help them with their public relations and to offer them a platform to express themselves and find a new clientele. Over the years, we’ve seen the rise of a real passion for baking which is still increasing. We also believe that Paris is as dynamic as London, and that all kinds of cuisine are more and more present.

Why did you choose the French capital as the place to hold the Taste of Paris event?

It seemed obvious to us that we should hold Taste Festival in the heart of the gastronomy capital of the world. Taste Festival originated in London 15 years back and a few years ago we felt that Paris was ready to take the plunge and welcome Taste Festival to the land of French gastronomy. Restaurant concepts were taking off, young chefs were shaking things up. It was time to bring Taste of Paris to life and give gastronomy a new way to express itself.