It’s a title that any craftsman of any industry would die for. It’s a title that speaks about skill, love of the profession and proof of supremacy. Getting it is a great honor. And once received, it is there for the rest of your life. It’ the Meilleur Ouvrier de France.
The Meilleur Ouvrier de France is a unique award given to professional in their given fields. It is a competition held every four years in recognition of particular skills. Organized and recognized by the French Ministry of Labor, this is designed to encourage professional craftsmen to further hone their craft and encourage the younger generation to take interest in the manual arts including:
• Tableware and Service, Cooking and Running Restaurants
• Cold Kitchen
• Fishmonger, Cheesemonger and Chocolatiers
• Pastry and Candy Making
This competition is not to be taken lightly, as it measures the skills a person possesses in creating masterpieces from various materials. A group of judges measure various factors like skill, discipline, speed, technique and respect for the rules. This means that over-all points accumulated, not the final product, determines who wins the award.
Preparation is no joke. For a craftsman to participate, training can take years to finally perfect their craft. This means tons of work, study and experimentation. Not many craftsmen can join the competition. It is considered to be an honor for being able to participate in one. Even if you lose, the mere fact that you were there is good for your reputation. Of course, it’s much better to be the winner, the title is for life.
There have been notable winners of the awards. Most of these are in the culinary arts. Among the list of people who have won the award are as follows:
• Olivier Bajard (Métier de bouche)
• Paul Bocuse (Métier de bouche)
• Pascal Caffet (Métier de bouche)
• René Fontaine (1946-…): Master chocolatier, MOF 1976. (Métier de bouche)
• Yves Thuriès (Métier de bouche)
• Roger Vergé (Métier de bouche)
• Dominique Laporte (2004) (Métier de bouche-Sommelier)
If you want a glimpse into the preparation that goes into this arduous competition, grab a glimpse of “Kings of Pastry”. The movie gives voice to the grueling competition and to the talents of the Chefs that make it to the competition. In the world of the vapid food television, this movie will leave you refreshed and renew your love affair with food.