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Le Cordon Bleu Gala Dinner Held Successfully
in Grand Halls, Shanghai

On the enchanting evening of May 10, 2023, Le Cordon Bleu and the Grand Halls, Shanghai orchestrated a remarkable Sino-French cultural exchange event - the Le Cordon Bleu Gala Dinner. Distinguished guests hailing from a dozen of countries embarked on a captivating voyage into the heart of Chinese culture, a journey that unfolded in a tapestry of flavors, arts, melodies, and literary delights.

Immersed in the kaleidoscope of multi-faceted Chinese settings, the guests beheld the mesmerizing interplay between the Chinese heritage and French traditions. They reveled in the profoun wisdom and joyous warmth that permeate the fabric of a blissful Chinese way of life.

The splendid gala dinner unfolded within the ambiance of bamboo forests, artfully arranged rockeries, and intricately designed screens that meticulously emulated the picturesque allure of Jiangnan garden landscapes. Each dining table, adorned with the breathtaking miniature panorama of a Jiangnan garden, instantly immersed the guests, both Chinese and foreign, in the very essence of Chinese banquet culture, paying homage to the harmonious bond between humanity and the natural world. The culinary ensemble, led by the revered MOF Award-winning chef team, collaborated seamlessly with a distinguished troupe of Chinese culinary masters and renowned artists of the city, revered guardians of Shanghai’s intangible cultural heritage. Together, they embarked on a transcendent journey of culinary artistry, showcasing the ever-evolving and innovative facets of traditional Chinese gastronomy and culture. In this remarkable process of preservation and reinvention, they offered a diverse tapestry of presentations, each a testament to the rich heritage and vibrant dynamism that define Chinese culinary traditions. Throughout the event, the seamless integration of Chinese and French cultural elements acted as a harmonious duet, exemplifying the open-mindedness, tolerance, and boundless innovation that permeate the very spirit of Shanghai.

It is worth highlighting that every exquisite dish presented on this occasion boasts an extraordinary selection of Chinese seasonal ingredients, exemplifying the profound reverence the Chinese hold for the ever-changing solar terms and seasons. This culinary approach not only showcases their deep-rooted appreciation for the rhythms of nature but also mirrors the French dedication to harmonious gastronomic pairings and the art of culinary storytelling. In this convergence of culinary cultures, a beautiful symphony emerges. The meticulously crafted and artfully presented fusion of Chinese and French cuisine transcends the boundaries of tradition, forging a new culinary path that celebrates the richness of both cultures. This gastronomic union seamlessly melds the time-honored Chinese cooking techniques with the revered traditions of French culinary artistry. Moreover, it ingeniously interweaves the essence of Chinese and French culinary classics, blending creativity and innovation in terms of ingredients, flavors, artistic presentation, and symboli meaning. Each dish serves as a true testament, a sublime embodiment, of the distinct qualities that define Chinese culinary mastery and the refined elegance of French gastronomy.

The gala dinner embraced the profound elegance of Chinese art by weaving the ethereal beauty of Mr. Chen Jialing’s renowned ink painting, “Lotus,” into its very fabric. Mr. Chen, a revered master of the esteemed Shanghai School of Art, bestowed upon the event a theme infused with the essence of “peace” and “harmony,” thereby encapsulating the profound cultural concepts of China and offering a glimpse into the timeless wisdom of Chinese civilization. This magnificent display served as a conduit, effortlessly sharing the enduring philosophy of unity between humanity and the natural world. Among the many captivating highlights of this unforgettable soirée, the series of twelve remarkable and innovative floral compositions, aptly titled “Flower Ode,” captured the imagination. These creations deftly portrayed the multi-dimensional and captivating essence of Chinese flowers, transcending traditional boundaries through their visionary and captivating formats. In this immersive experience, guests were transported into the realm of ancient Chinese philosophical imagination, exploring the profound unity between mankind and nature. Within the petals of these floral marvels, the secrets of life and health, hidden within nature’s blossoms, were unveiled, enriching their understanding and appreciation of the exquisite connections between flora and human well-being.

The mesmerizing voices of the International Jinqiao Children’s Choir gracefully echoed through the air, as they harmoniously sang the enchanting “Twenty-Four Solar Terms Song.” This captivating melody served as a poignant introduction to the rich tapestry of traditional Chinese solar terms and the vibrant culture of phenology. In a beautiful symphony of voices, the choir transported the audience to the heart of this ancient wisdom, evoking a deep appreciation for the natural rhythms that govern our lives. Following this mesmerizing performance, The Vocal Voice in Shanghai mesmerized the audience with their renditions of two timeless French classics. Through their soul-stirring terpretations, these talented young artists showcased the harmonious dialogue that can be forged between diverse cultures. Their performances not only served as a testament to the power of artistic expression but also heralded a new era of cultural exchange between China and France, symbolizing the emergence of a youthful and dynamic force propelling this mutual appreciation to new heights.

The maestro of the erhu, Ma Xiaohui, graced the stage with her extraordinary talent, enchanting the audience with the timeless melodies of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Ten Thousand Horses Galloping.” Through her masterful performance, she skillfully unraveled the layers of depth, complexity, and tension within these classic compositions. In the delicate and soul-stirring notes of her erhu, a shared worldview, one that transcends the confines of dualism, was revealed, inspiring all to embrace the courage required to confront life's intricacies.

The renowned Kunqu opera maestro, Zhang Jun, graced the audience with a performance that delicately wove together elements of eternity and emotion. With a tactful libretto, his voice resonated through the air, evoking the very essence of late spring in Shanghai. The lyrical beauty of his delivery transported listeners on a captivating journey, leaving an indelible imprint upon their hearts. Accompanying this poetic performance, Lin Dongfu, an esteemed actor and painter hailing from Shanghai, joined forces with Ivan Ruviditch, a distinguished French director and sinologist, to deliver a truly unforgettable reading. Mr. Lin, an esteemed recipient of the prestigious French Order of Arts and Letters, stands as a proud ambassador of Sino-French exchanges. Meanwhile, Mr. Ruviditch, an esteemed connoisseur of Chinese culture, has earned accolades such as the esteemed Magnolia Silver Award from the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. Through his passion for Chinese culture, he has collaboratively brought numerous traditional Chinese plays to life.

Andre Cointreau, President and CEO of Le Cordon Bleu, expressed that Le Cordon Bleu transcends its French origins to become a global symbol of culinary excellence. He emphasized that this momentous event in Shanghai will serve as a catalyst, propelling Le Cordon Bleu to host a similar grand event in Paris in 2024 to mark the momentous occasions of the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and France, the China-France Year of Culture and Tourism, and the highly anticipated Paris Olympic Games. Mr. Cointreau highlighted Le Cordon Bleu's commitment to fostering communication and collaboration with an ever-expanding network of partners, united in their mission to fortify the bonds of friendship and contribute to the progress of civilization between China and France. Furthermore, Mr. Cointreau shared that Le Cordon Bleu, with its presence in over 20 countries, seizes every opportunity to organize diverse activities annually. In line with their vision, they will embark on an international Chinese food training program aimed at promoting Chinese culinary traditions, unraveling the intricate tapestry of Chinese cultural concepts to the global stage. Through this initiative, Le Cordon Bleu aspires to initiate meaningful discussions, share the wealth of Chinese civilization, and disseminate its profound wisdom to an international audience.

With a rich history spanning 128 years, Le Cordon Bleu has been a prominent advocate of food culture. Since the establishment of the China campus, Le Cordon Bleu has actively fostered Sino-French cultural exchanges and dialogues. Through its endeavors, Le Cordon Bleu has effectively interpreted Chinese traditional culture, facilitating a deeper understanding of China among foreign audiences, and fostering stronger people-to-people bonds between China and foreign countries.