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Home > Embassy News > 2010
Remarks by Chargé d'Affaires Qin Gang At the Seminar to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the London Delegation of the Italian Academy of Cuisine on 19 November 2010 at Royal College of Music

Your Excellency Mr Nalin Surie,

Mr Stefano Pontecorvo,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in London, please allow me to warmly congratulate the London Delegation of the Italian Academy of Cuisine on its 25th anniversary. Thank you very much for inviting me and Chinese specialists to this seminar on New Trends in the Major Cuisines of the World.

As an ancient Chinese saying goes, "Food is the paramount want of the people". Throughout the 5,000 years of the Chinese civilisation, food has always been a major part of Chinese people's lives. You may not know this, but up until a few years ago, a most common way of greeting for the Chinese people was: Have you had your meal? This shows how important food was. Nowadays, however, one seldom hears such greetings any more. People's concern now is not how to get enough to eat, but rather how to enjoy good food and how to eat healthily.

Chinese food has also evolved into basic symbols of Chinese culture. Not surprisingly, many Westerners' understanding of China started from enjoying good Chinese food. The Travels of Marco Polo, a book written in the 13th century by an Italian traveller, described in great detail Chinese and oriental cuisine and food culture, which provided Europeans with a vivid perspective on the Chinese civilisation. Even the European Age of Exploration was partly driven by the search for spices, which triggered the earliest exchanges between the East and the West and in that process changed the course of modern history.

Today Chinese cuisine has become a familiar aspect to families around the world. Popular dishes such as Mapo Tofu and Kung Pao Chicken have entered into the English vocabulary. More and more Chinese are also falling in love with foreign food. As a country with time-honoured gastronomic traditions, China is ready to share its culture with other countries and learn from their distinctive cultures. We believe that only sincere exchanges will increase mutual understanding and bring about substantive cooperation. And sharing our nice foods is a good place to start. Today we are lucky enough to be joined by well-known chefs from China, Italy, France, India and Japan. I am sure the food will be as great as the company tonight.

London is home to all kinds of culinary delights of the world. It certainly has the best Chinese food in Europe, and also excellent Italian, French, Indian and Japanese food. The London Delegation of the Italian Academy of Cuisine has done a lot, since its inception in 1985, to promote food traditions. I'm sure the Chinese food catering sector here would be happy to learn from your experience, and today's discussion about latest trends in the 5 major cuisines is a unique and important opportunity to promote exchanges and mutual learning among the catering industries of our five countries.

I wish the seminar a complete success.

Thank you.

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