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New cultural season: "Gargantuesque": Round table at the Institut français, design in the world of cooking

To celebrate the new "Gargantuesque" cultural season (until 21 September 2024), the Institut français du Cambodge (IFC) invited the public to join in this new adventure, with a round table discussion where design and cuisine met.

The "Gargantuesque" cultural season: an authentic gastronomic journey

An invitation to explore cuisine from all angles: in literature, in film, on the table and on the plate. This new season reflects the moments of conviviality, sharing and exchange where social ties are strengthened and perpetuated.

A symbol of know-how, tradition and the art of living that transcends cultural boundaries, gastronomy appeals to the senses, awakening the soul and the body.

To achieve this, the art of the table calls on a host of artists and craftsmen, from cooks to designers, writers to glass, ceramic and woodworkers.

"This season is dedicated to the table, to comics, an inclusive and popular medium that crosses generations," said Valentin Rodriguez, Deputy Director of the IFC.

He added: "This season is also an opportunity to work on design and this table around which so many things in life are decided, this place of sharing and familiarity".

The Bistrot de l'Institut français is a partner in this cultural season, and will be putting its expertise to good use by offering creative lunches and cookery classes using Khmer and French recipes.

Opening on 4 July 2024, the "Gargantuesque" exhibition highlights cuisine, design and literature. It combines the comic strip "Comme un chef" by Benoît Peeters and Aurélia Aurita with design pieces linked to the art of the table created by Grégory Granados and Julia Debord Dany. For its opening, the exhibition offers a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds, thanks to the talents of Aline Ang and the Bistrot de l'Institut français.

Design and cuisine, a cross-disciplinary encounter

Last Wednesday, the IFC cinema hosted a discussion with writer Benoît Peeters, chefs Aline Ang and Joannès Rivière, and designers Grégory Granados and Julia Debord Dany.

It was a moment of exchange akin to a family meal, where questions of discovery and creation around cuisine and design were the order of the day.

"In all work, whether manual or intellectual, you have to think about the user, the person who is going to eat it or use it. I think there's a certain kind of love involved. We're thinking of the person for whom the product is intended", confided Joannès Rivière, a famous chef who has lived in Cambodia for 20 years.

Whether they are chefs, designers, creative artists or writers, their work revolves around encounters, exchanges, complicity... This freedom where each can invent "something" and try not to repeat themselves by enriching their work with others and "elsewhere".

With shared values that bring these professionals together, as Benoît Peeters put it: "There's one thing that brings us all together: it's the desire to transcend the boundary between the manual and the intellectual. Design, cooking, writing and drawing: these are practices that draw on both.

Julia Debord Dany, visual artist and designer in artistic residence in Cambodia, continued: "There are very raw links between design and cooking. For example, I love to cut ingredients and grind them into powder and, as a designer, I use ingredients in the same way as a chef to transform them into something functional.

Beyond the product itself, the question of its environment has also emerged. The moment that accompanies tasting takes on its full meaning. And, as Benoît Peeters describes it: "It's really about realising that the vase and the flower are equally important.

Finally, a process of work and reflection that also highlighted the question of leftovers.

"We're building up our knowledge of products, making do with what we've got. And when it comes to leftovers, that takes time. For me, the real luxury in cooking today is time", said Joannès Rivière.

It was a moment of sharing and exchange that got the IFC's "Gargantuesque" cultural season off to a flying start, and ended with a gourmet moral: "don't forget to think with your stomach". Particularly here, in the heart of the Kingdom, where Khmer cuisine, respectful of its culinary traditions, shines and is modernised year after year with the different inspirations of the young generation of Cambodian chefs.

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