A judging panel made up of experts and professionals
As a barometer for the latest trends in fine food, the Gourmet Selection “Best Of” awards distinguish products and services offering genuine added value. The judging panel, made up of experts and professionals selected for their love of good products, tastes the products and inspect them from all angles to single out the “must-have” stars of the show.
Vincent Ferniot, Chairman of the “Best Of” judging panel
Vincent Ferniot, the gourmet food journalist of many talents, does us the honour each year of chairing the competition’s judging panel. Want to know a bit more about him??
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Daylight, as I get up early, generally around 6.00am, and the “invitation of coffee.” This is a hallowed moment of the day when I make myself a triple expresso. A moment of calm before the day’s hectic bustle (even during lockdown).
What is your motto?
I have several, depending on what part of my life we’re talking about. In my job, “Imagination is more important than knowledge” (Einstein). In my private life: “Love conquers all”; at the table: “Hunger is the best sauce”. It’s not easy to make up a single one by combining those three!
What is your greatest culinary discovery?
Hard to give you one, because my job is to discover things endlessly. But I’d say: the most recent one.
Who is your mentor?
I owe a great deal both in terms of cooking and the table to my father Jean Ferniot who was a gastronome and a great journalist (political and gastronomic). He was behind my taste for what’s good.
What is on your wish list for this year?
Shedding the five kilos I put on during the lockdown! More seriously, my wish is that hospitality and food professions learn thelessons from the Covid crisis and become capable of reinventing themselves to bounce back into business even stronger..
What is your most unusual gastronomic encounter?
The encounter of the year… I am very aware of the need to reduce the consumption of meat-based products in our diet, so I look favourably upon vegetarians and vegans, but I am strongly against overly radical and extremist vegans and antispeciesists. I am an assumed reasoned omnivore, and I am keenly interested in solutions that replace meat with plant protein. For the first time, this year I discovered a “plant-based white meat’ which was quite an accomplishment. This was unusual for me, as I always favour vegetable-based cuisine..
What are you most proud of?
Obviously the invention of the first coffee in chocolate bar format: Le Carré de Café. Looks like chocolate, but no chocolate. I had this intuition when I was small and always preferred coffee to chocolate in cakes. I conceived it with my friend, the master chocolate chef François Pralus, who makes it with talent..
In 3 words, how would you define Gourmet Selection?
The Exhibition for professionals of fine food and specialities. A selection of high-quality products, unique in its diversity. The annual meeting for all sourcing people with a passion for new taste sensations and a snapshot of the health of the sector.
Le jury de l'édition 2021
Morgan ABBOU (@morganabbou) : Trend-Influencer Food who travels the world in search of talents to reveal and beautiful life & food stories to tell. He is also a recognized specialist in Mediterranean cuisine.
Priscilla LANZAROTTI : A devoted ‘sweet tooth’, Patricia scours the patisseries of Paris in search of the hidden treasure. Every day, this epicurean gourmet shares her discoveries and tips on social media and sometimes on the radio or the television.
Nathalie SCHRAEN-GUIRMA (@nat_made_in_france ) : Journalist and host (Télématin/France 2 and C'est Ça la France/Sud Radio) Nathalie is a specialist of Made in France. She is also a passionate of flavours and a champion of locavores.
Catherine COUTTE : A purchaser for the sweet grocery, tea and coffee category at Lafayette Gourmet, Catherine is a professional in delicatessen products which she tastes and selects in her everyday job, to offer the very best to the clientele of this fine address.
Alan GEAAM (@alan_geaam) : A self-taught chef with a singular life story and a true citizen of the world, Alan Geeam is the chef of the oldest restaurant in Paris, L’Auberge Nicolas Flamel, offering a modern take on traditional French cuisine. His eponymous restaurant “Alan Geeam” awarded one star in the Michelin Guide, is a rendezvous with high gastronomy, while his more recently-opened establishments Qasti Bistrot and Saj specialise in cuisine from Lebanon, the chef’s mother country.