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UNESCO, 18th November 2014
Relais & Châteaux has presented its Vision and its 20 Commitments, in the presence of distinguished guests and before an audience including members and journalists from across the globe.
Against the backdrop of the adverse evolution of dietary practices and the standardization of cuisines around the world, Relais & Châteaux has set itself a mission: preserve the diversity of the cuisines of the world, share the passion for the good and the beautiful and work together to create a more humane world.
These commitments have resulted from the brainstorming of the World Culinary Council of Relais & Châteaux, set up more than a year ago, which includes men and women, sommeliers, chefs and innkeepers.
They are part of a movement that the Association wants to engage into, together with others, on a worldwide level. Relais & Châteaux wants to preserve and promote cuisine and hospitality cultures through the world, and to elevate, more particularly, the Fine Arts of Living to the rank of the 10th Art.
Download the Relais & Châteaux Vision in English and in French here.
Making a better world through cuisine and hospitality
In a world that is rich in its differences, people from all cultures have always placed importance on two timeless traditions: cuisine and hospitality. Throughout history, these two traditions have contributed to happiness, fellowship and the art of living well: or what the French call “l’Art de vivre”. It’s therefore critical to our humanity - if not mankind - that cuisine and hospitality be cherished, preserved and continually revived, ensuring both can always play a role in our capacity to live well together.
For the past two decades, food, cooking and dining have gone through some significant and troubling changes. The actions of many large-scale food producers and dining establishments have had a profoundly negative impact on the health of both our planet and our consumers. As a result, some chefs have embraced the styles and trends imposed by the industry, which are, in truth, inconsistent with the original tenets of our profession. Others have focused more on ostentatious presentation, slipping even further away from the genuine role that cuisine can and should play in our lives.
At Relais & Châteaux, we strive to be true artisans and representatives of the restaurant and hotel trade. We see ourselves as both heirs and gatekeepers of not only the rich cultural history of hospitality around the world, but also the wonderful variety of cuisines within it. As a fellowship, as a family of chefs, hoteliers and restaurateurs, we have made a conscious choice to be true to the mission bestowed upon us: to preserve and share true culinary techniques and to eschew shortcuts that diminish excellence. For it is through this use of authentic methods and ingredients that we are able to truly share all that is good and beautiful in this world. For it is through these practices and beliefs that we truly express and enrich our humanity.
This strong emotion of taste, however, does not exist on its own or spring solely from the plate. Rather, it is deeply connected to one’s surroundings and an authentic and generous welcome into them. This fundamental realization is the foundation on which we build our commitment to supporting cuisine and hospitality and, through this commitment, making the world better for future generations.
At Relais & Châteaux, we know that others share these beliefs and have similar humanitarian goals, and we wish to work with them to support a mission focused on three key areas:
Relais & Châteaux are stewards of our global culinary heritage. Together we work to preserve the precious nature of the earth’s bounty. We celebrate and pave the way for tomorrow’s cuisines through our creativity, responsibility and commitment. The men and women who cook with us are trained to apply our golden rule: to offer a cuisine that is in harmony with the geographic location of each Relais & Châteaux property and that respects and reflects seasonal products. We have joined forces with farmers and fishermen to protect the harvest of humanity and be guardians of the biodiversity of our planet. Above all, we protect and promote the rich diversity of the many different cuisines and elements of hospitality throughout this world, seeing them both as somewhat intangible but still valuable assets of our humanity and our cultural heritage.
Astrid & Gastón - Lima, Pérou
A wise and talented interpreter of flavours, Gastón Acurio has turned Lima into a Mecca for South-American culinary arts. The cuisine of the restaurant Astrid & Gastón tells the story of Peru and its regions. With his menu “Memorias de mi tierra” (Memories of my Land), Gastón Acurio and Diego Muñoz regularly change their dishes to reflect the cultural diversity of the region, its richness and genuine respect for the seasonality of the produce.
The Yihe Mansions - Nanjing (Jiangsu), Chine
It was in Nanjing that the government of the new Republic of China established itself in 1927. Private mansions were built, including the Yihe Mansions, which is a perfect illustration for modern Chinese architecture known under the name of Republic Style or National Style. These mansions have been refurbished with elegance, respect for the materials and building techniques of that time, so that the Yihe Mansions were presented with a UNESCO Award in 2014.
Gasthof Post - Lech am Arlberg, Autriche
The Moosbrugger Family has been offering an exceptional welcoming experience and true hospitality for their guests since 1937. Attention to detail, meeting all needs, offering of a traditional afternoon tea in front of an open fireplace, those are the commitments of Sandra and Florian Moosbrugger.
Georges Blanc Parc & Spa - Vonnas, France
Growing up in the kitchen of this prestigious property, Georges Blanc has consistently celebrated and used the regional produce from Bresse through his locally inspired dishes. He is the President of the Protected Appellation “A.O.P. Volaille de Bresse” to passionately defend and protect this species.
Le Manoir aux Quat’ saisons - Oxford, Royaume-Uni
No fishing during the spawning period, awareness of the minimum size of the fish when fishing, ensuring that the fishing methods are ethical and sustainable: those are the commitments of Raymond Blanc, who was amongst the first to comply with the precepts of the Marine Stewardship Council, an international label of sustainable fishing. Mobilised and engaged for sustainable cuisine, he is also the President of SRA (Sustainable Restaurant Association).
Blackberry Farm - Walland, Tennessee, États-Unis
1,700 hectare farmland supply the property’s kitchen with the finest fresh seasonal produce throughout the year. Cheese, vegetables, honey and cider are all produced at the farm and constitute the essential ingredients of a simple cuisine, one that subtly blends the resources of the local region.
Soneva Fushi - Kunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll, Îles Maldives
Soneva or the art of sustainable tourism. Soneva has committed itself and made the environment its priority. Solar panels, water treatment, natural ventilation, waste management, use of biochar as charcoal, glass recycling, protection of biodiversity, social commitment are in line with the support of the SLOW Life Foundation which supports innovative projects for the environment and the communities.
Les Prés d’Eugénie Michel Guérard - Eugénie-les-Bains, France
Three-star chef Michel Guérard, the inventor of health-based cuisine, has turned the small village of Eugénieles-Bains into the “First Minceur Village in France”. With the conviction that the culinary delights can be easily associated with healthy diet, he has created the “Ecole de Cuisine de Santé®”, which highlights the basics of nutrition without neglecting the demands of taste.
Johann Lafers Stromburg - Stromberg, Allemagne
The starred chef and media star Johann Lafer is committed to sharing his knowledge about products and culinary delights. The creator of the Food@ucation project, his ambition is for the younger generation to discover the basics of authentic, healthy cuisine and “a life devoted to good taste”.
Asaba - Shuzenji, Japon
1200 years ago this property was a “Shukubo”, a Buddhist temple providing accommodation to guests who visit for praying and meditation. Considered as one of the best traditional Japanese hotels, owned for more than 500 years by the Asaba family, this property is witness to the rich heritage of this country. Gardens around a pond, onsens and a traditional Noh theatre are features which make Asaba the heir to the Onkochishin philosophy (learn from the past).
The Relais & Châteaux family strives to share what is beautiful, good and unique by creating moments for our guests that are not just a luxury reserved for the elite, but a treasure to be shared with anyone who cares about and wants to feel a part of the world around them. We cultivate and share this value with many different communities - small farmers and producers in our regions who are all too often isolated or ignored; hundreds of young apprentices whom we welcome into this world and to whom we proudly pass along our trade and the understanding and skills associated with it; and our employees, with whom we are united and from whom our ambition and passions truly shine.
Txai Resort Itacaré - Itacaré, Brésil
Through the Companions of Txai Institute, this resort is fully committed to sustainable tourism preserving natural resources for future generations. Situated in a protected area, the support of the local community and environment is their priority, from the cultivation of the soil to the social development of the local community. 23 families of small producers are committed to grow organic fruit and vegetables that are consumed by the Txai Resort Itacaré or sold on the organic food market of the village.
Hôtel et Restaurant Régis & Jacques Marcon - Saint-Bonnet-le-Froid, France
Members of the Association Générations Cuisines & Cultures, Régis and Jacques Marcon teach the skills and knowledge. Mastering of service, awareness of taste and knowledge of products are taught to the young chefs who use these acquired skills throughout the world. Through their educational programmes they support the professional career of apprentices from property to property.
Camp Jabulani - Hoedspruit, Afrique du Sud
Camp Jabulani cares for the animals of the reserve, but also invests in the development of the young and its employees. The property supports several initiatives aimed at the education of the children of the Paulos Ngobeni school, in a small village near the reserve. Another initiative taken by Camp Jabulani is the development and training of their employees, allowing them to grow their professional path to earn a better salary.
Brilliant Resort & SPA Jingmai - Pu’er city, Chine
Nestling in the heart of the Jingmai mountains with more than 400 hectares of Pu’er tea (one of the best in the world) plantations, the Brilliant Resort & Spa offers a relaxation in abundance. Discover, the tea treatments and the tradition of the mountain populations, who have lived for generations at the rhythm of the tea plantations. In this enchanting setting, the art of taking care of others is not only a motto but a mission.
Auberge du Soleil - Rutherford, Californie, États-Unis
With several ecolabels (Tripadvisor® GreenleadersTM, Bay Area Green Business Certified, Green Spa Network Partner, Whole World Water), the Auberge du Soleil is committed on a daily basis to preserve and utilise the local culture and region by turning employees and guests into guardians of the diversity of Napa Valley. Through the Napa Valley Vine Trail (NVVT) the Auberge du Soleil promotes this territory by building a network of trails within the vineyard for hiking or biking, so that everybody can appreciate this precious environment and benefit fully from one of the most prestigious American winegrowing regions.
Our ambition for every Relais & Châteaux property is that each experience be an inspiration for our guests, our suppliers, our staff and our local partners. Together, we can craft and create a new and more humane world: one that is more sensitive and attentive to the essential aspects of dining, warmth and welcome, which are the foundations of a more peaceful and open society. We join in this movement with our partners who feel as we do, believing it is a cause that is worth fighting for and supporting each day. While we all have individual responsibilities, our collective commitment is to move forward together on a shared, long-term venture to deploy our 20 commitments for cuisine and hospitality and to promote the “Arts de vivre” as the true 10th Art.
Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat - Cape Town, Afrique du Sud
The German Moravian Mission Station provides the Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve with rooibos and leather goods. With this partnership the property promotes the local talent and the importance of savoirfaire, whilst developing the employment in the region. This is supplemented by a full programme concerning sustainable development of which Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve is a perfect illustration (winner of the Wildlife Conservations Programme of Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Awards in 2009, winner of the Environment Trophy of Relais & Châteaux in 2007).
Relais & Châteaux Association
At the UNES CO, a highly symbolic place for the defence of culture, education and sciences, the twenty commitments of the Relais & Châteaux Vision have been declared before more than 100 journalists from all over the world. By creating these guidelines, the Relais & Châteaux Association focuses its efforts on the quest for a better world through hospitality and cuisine.
Anjajavy - Madagascar
Anjajavy works closely with the NGO Écoles du Monde and participates in the development of four isolated villages close to the lodge. With the financial support of local micro-enterprises, the commitment focuses on education, fishing (purchasing of canoes, nets etc), agriculture (purchasing of seeds and fertilisers), apiculture (purchasing of beehives), cattle and artisanship. Finally, the hotel employs around 100 local people and contributes towards the development of the countryside and its resources which discourages the local inhabitants to leave for larger towns.
Relais & Châteaux Association
Relais & Châteaux joined the SeaWeb programme in 2009 and the association has been fighting for the defence and the protection of the products and reserves of the seas. Therefore members removed the Mediterranean blue fin tuna from the menus. In 2011 the European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries spoke at the international congress of Relais & Châteaux in Lisbon in support. In addition a partnership with the SRA (Sustainable Restaurant Association) has been formed in 2014.
Relais & Châteaux Association
The Relais & Châteaux Vision announced at the UNESCO is distributed, adhered to and explained to all the properties, ensuring an accurate understanding and implementation of the commitments. The Association will convey clear messages associated with this vision, throughout the world. The movement is overseen by the Relais & Châteaux Academy as well as their educational programmes. Relais & Châteaux has been driving the creation of an industry qualification, a university diploma in partnership with the Institut Paul Bocuse and the network of the IEHCA University of Tours, scheduled to launch in 2015.