Le Cordon Bleu News, 02/18/2009
The Best Craftsman of France (MOF) competition allows candidates, from more than 180 different professions, to make a masterpiece on an imposed subject or theme, allowing them to showcase their talent. They must show their dexterity, knowledge of modern techniques and trends, creativity, good taste and use of both modern and traditional techniques.
Those who are successful receive the enviable title of « One of the Best craftsman in France », awarded by the President of the Republic.
The origins of the Best Craftsman of France competition date back to 1913, when Lucien Klotz, journalist and politician, tried to come up with a way of stopping the diminishing number of manual workers. In 1921, Pierre Rammeil, in charge of the fine arts budget, proposed the creation of an exhibition of good craftsmanship.
In 1922, Lucien Dior, Trade Minister, declared « I have decided to create an annual exhibition during which one person in each profession will be awarded « Best craftsman in France ».
Following the success of these annual exhibitions, the organisation « Best craftsman of France » was created in 1929, grouping all those having received this prestigious title. The initiative for the creation of this organisation came from René Petit (MOF in 1927). He thought that it was a shame that, after the competition, the MOFs just went back to their everyday jobs and carried on as usual without any means of getting to know other MOFs or having their status recognised. He therefore went to the press asking all MOFs to join together.
In the following words, Georges Castelain, first President of the MOF association, underlines the ethics of this organization « Our organization should be an extended family where we are brothers and sisters from the same father « work » and the same mother « France ». Just as real brothers and sisters would, we should help and protect one another always.
Once an MOF, the story does not end here. The MOF must continue in their search for perfection to show that they are worthy of their title, to avoid getting stuck in a rut and to learn new techniques.
Sometimes an MOF becomes a teacher, transmitting their trade and their savoir-faire to those who, one day perhaps, will follow their lead. They can train young talent helping those they think capable of going a long way, search for possible candidates for future competitions, encouraging and advising them. Such is a MOFs role in society.
The Cordon Bleu’s teaching faculty currently includes a number of MOF Chefs, Chef Nicolas Bernardé (France), Chef Hervé Boutin (Australia), Chef Christian Faure (Canada) and Bruno Lederf (Japan).
Photo (left to right) : Chef Lederf, Chef Bernardé and Chef Faure.