Pour Tout le Monde

Appointed only a few months ago, the French Ambassador to Oman, Renaud Salins has demonstrated his enthusiasm for his new post with the exciting initiative of a French Week in Oman, to be held at the same time each year. This first such event will feature the French Food and Hospitality sectors, and will commence on the March 14, this Wednesday with its primary objective to share with Oman, a globally recognized aspect of the French culture, and way of life. French Week in Muscat has something for everyone, and for every taste.
After all, who can resist a Beef Bourguignon, from the Burgundy region, a Quiche Lorraine from the East of France, a Marseille inspired Provencal Fish Stew, of which no two are the same, or the Lyon favourite, poached fish or meat Quenelles? Certainement, not moi! Coq Au Vin, Cassoulet, Confit, Ratatouille, they simply roll off the tongue, and we haven’t looked at the sweets yet! Crepes anyone? And thus, in his inimitable fashion, Ambassador Salins teased and tempted, as he introduced the upcoming French Food and Hospitality Week.
“I like to cook when I have the opportunity, and food, or French cuisine, is of course, close to my heart, and given the significant number of French, and trained chefs and bakers in the capital, it made good sense to offer the two sectors as the joint themes for our very first event.”
He went on to say that, “Our first objective is to bring all of the culinary knowledge and skill, that is currently available throughout the Sultanate, and especially Muscat, in a significant number of hotels and restaurants, together for everyone in Oman to appreciate.”
The official launch will take place in the form of a cocktail party at the Ambassador’s Residence, with a guest list drawn from far and wide, and this will be a forerunner to events almost every evening with the Intercontinental Hotel, Sundus Rotana, Hormuz Grand Hotel, Crowne Plaza Qurum and OCEC, all hosting significant functions, while lunches will be hosted by La Brasserie (Muttrah), ZAD (Bank Muscat), and the IBIS Hotel. In addition, the famous French branded light dining outlets, Fauchon, Le Petit Paris, Angelina and Paul will offer discounts that will certainly tempt even the most discreet or difficult tastes. The Ambassador was keen to emphasise that this variety of dining experiences was to ensure that they would be available at prices to appeal to all pockets, affordable to all, and that “the whole community is invited to French Week, and it’s not for VIP’s only.”
The General Manager of Sodexo-Socat, one of the largest catering concerns in the world, Geoff Murray, expressed their “enthusiasm at being able to share their French ‘heritage’ to the community,” and looks forward to “providing some delectable French flavours at selected outlets across Sultan Qaboos University next week.” And expressed his wish that “the Ambassador and his team may even drop in to sample some of the treats? It will be fun, and very French.”
Like a matryoshka doll too, the Week just keeps offering more, and there is something for the younger generation too, as the Lycée Francais de Mascate (LFM) French School will benefit from a French menu, delivered daily by Newrest, both they and the Sultan’s School Muscat, will host opportunities for the students to learn how to make baguettes and croissants.
“We are fortunate,” said the Ambassador, “to have an active, and diverse group of commercial partners assisting us in this initiative. They are a diverse mix of French-based and Omani commercial entities, here in the capital, and they have enthusiastically embraced the concept since it was first mooted. Omantel, and Oman Air have proven extremely supportive, the Omani-French Centre (CFO) and Oman-French Friendship Association (OFA) are providing logistic support, and the European Business Persons Group (EBPG) and French Foreign Trade Advisors (CCEF) are offering their expertise and support as well.”
French Week Project Manager, Marine Audras, unveiled the event logo, in stunning red, white and blue, a representation of the iconic and ubiquitous Eiffel Tower, both the colours, and symbol synonymous with the home of fine food, and remarkable hospitality. Audras explained that Muscat-based, French advertising concern JCDecaux “is leaving no stone unturned in developing public awareness of the event, and Carrefour and Al Meera Hypermarkets will be showcasing French produced products all week, with tastings and in-store promotions.”
“At the end of the day,” said the Ambassador, “All of this is already here, being consumed, enjoyed, and people are taking pleasure from this French cuisine and hospitality, but this week, we will take it to the people, let them appreciate our traditions in a manner which we have never done before, and we will show them that traditional French tastes are, so to speak, at their fingertips.”