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André Gayot Shares High French Honor with American and French Chefs

André Gayot, with French Ambassador to the U.S., Jean-Daniel Levitte, addresses a distinguished crowd of French and American chefs.
© Abaca US

M any American, French and European chefs and other luminaries of the food and wine world were present at the Consulate General of France in New York, upon the invitation of the Consul Général François Delattre, when the French Ambassador to the U.S., Jean-Daniel Levitte, bestowed on André Gayot the ensigns making him an officer of the Légion d’Honneur, France's highest decoration.

The French ambassador said that this very high distinction was granted in recognition of André Gayot’s exceptional services in his fight for freedom of the press and international understanding.

In a moving speech, André Gayot explained the reasons why this very French affair took place in New York rather than in Paris.

"With my family and all of these French and European chefs present, I want to express our respect and admiration for this great country of yours and say how much we feel we are a part of it. The community of chefs ignores borders and prejudices, and through their work these men and women, who come from such diverse horizons, honor their country as well as the U.S. In their lives, in their minds and in their hearts, the two homelands are merged. They illustrate how we can live together in harmony and happiness when we share the same values."

Mr. Gayot and top chefs such as Marisa May, Jean-Louis Gerin, Odette Fada, David Waltuck, Olivier Muller, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Mario Maccioni, Christian Delouvrier, Roland Passot, Gabriel Kreuther, Thomas Henkelmann, and Rita Jammet receive a round of applause.
© Abaca US

Odette Fada of San Domenico presented this plate to André Gayot in the name of the European chefs of New York.

André Gayot said he shared the honor he was receiving with them. “In this particular, distinguished community, Americans and the French have never found a ground for dispute. They are peers, they are friends, they learn from each other.”

His conclusion was: "I want Alexandre, my ten-year-old grandson, to remember the splendor of this American night and this song of brotherhood and liberty we are chanting; and when my voice will be extinct, in my place he will pronounce the same words from the bottom of his heart and of his convictions."


(Updated: 08/07/09 AR)


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