“It takes incredible drive to go to the ends of the earth exploring nature, life and humanity,” says leading French scientist Claude Détraz. History has taught us that expeditions are not only for making scientific discoveries or gathering geographic data. Some of their more discreet artisans are moving towards different horizons. Take for example Laurent Ballesta, a marine naturalist, renowned photographer of the underwater world and passionate fan of all the mysteries it holds. The five Gombessa missions represent an intrepidness he uses to keep the flame of a vibrant and ever-growing research field alive.
You could say that Gérald Passedat is another explorer and adventurer. His talent as a chef is on full display inside a kitchen, yet his battles are fought outside those walls in his role as a tireless activist protecting the oceans he sees as the lungs of the planet. Keen to nurture his art by probing the deep seas, Gérald Passedat is always looking for ways to make the most of the Earth's bounty and showcase hand-selected products to recreate a fascinating sensation of diving into his cherished Mediterranean Sea where he draws most of his boundless inspiration.
These are revealing portraits and proof that in addition to being driven by an undying passion, these two men have more in common than a ready fondness for one another.
While on this unprecedented journey from July 1 to 28, 2019, Laurent Ballesta and his crew worked to further our knowledge of the ecosystem by observing marine life 120 meters under the surface in a 5 m² pressurized pod. This feat of human and technical progress was made possible using innovative diving gear that was developed with support from Blancpain.
As a tribute to Gombessa's latest expedition dubbed Planet Mediterranean, the 3-star chef from Petit Nice-Passedat in Marseille made a delectably flavorful meal when the diving crew returned on land after exploring the depths of the Mediterranean. He was delighted to welcome the crew back with an iodine-rich menu of seafood delicacies and sought to use his unique talent to bring them back to a family-style table. What an exquisite and divine way to honor this achievement.
Laurent Ballesta, director of the expedition and partner of the Blancpain Ocean Commitment (BOC), is a pioneer in finding uses for cutting-edge diving equipment. Gérald Passedat is a member of Relais & Châteaux, which as an association is committed to protecting the environment and biodiversity and who believe that the ocean is one of the planet’s most precious resources. Blancpain and Relais & Châteaux have been partners since 2014 and are honored to have been able to support this amazing initiative.
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