France is about to ask for its cuisine to be officially registered by UNESCO as part of the world's cultural heritage, a group of chefs and academics lobbying for French gastronomical recognition said Thursday.
The request for French cooking to be added to UNESCO's list of intangible cultural treasures will be announced by President Nicolas Sarkozy during an address to the country's farmers on Saturday, said the group.
The group was set up with the help of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food (IEHCA) and comprises some of the country's top chefs -- including Paul Bocuse, Alain Ducasse and Michel Guerard -- as well as academics, writers and cultural VIPs.
Arguing that 'cuisine is culture', the group has been lobbying in favour of its case since 2006, when UNESCO recognised the notion of 'intangible' cultural heritage.
'Good cuisine is a real national cause,' Jean-Robert Pitte, who heads Sorbonne-Paris IV University, earlier told AFP. 'But French people nowadays are not eating well.'
UNESCO's approval would help the country's food chiefs put wrongs right, he said.
However, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has already turned down a similar request from Mexico, the first time a country had attempted to get its food heritage recognised by UNESCO.