French cooking, famed worldwide for its excellence, may not be so French after all.
A government report has found that the country's cooking is mostly prepared by foreign chefs.
It is also mostly cooked in foreign-made ovens and eaten from foreign plates.
Food writer Jean Ferniot, commissioned by the Culture and Agriculture ministries to report on France's food and wine industry, said the country's lucrative gastronomy industry was dominated by other countries.
His report will be published next week. He said French companies were not fully aware of the potential of the food industry even though exports last year were a record 29.8 billion francs ($3 billion).
Talented Chefs Exported
Countries such as the United States, Switzerland and West Germany did not hesitate to export their most talented chefs and hotel managers, who equipped their kitchens and hotels with their own national products, the report said.
"A French chef should be the best advertising agent not only for his own cuisine, but also for French food products in general," the report said.
"Just as in the textile industry, where Haute Couture is the vanguard for ready-to-wear clothes, textile companies and the related industries, French gastronomy should be a driving force for the food industry, tourism, the hotel trade and household equipment," Ferniot said.
"France's most significant success will come when the world will proclaim one day: 'A French wine can only be enjoyed in a French glass,' " he said.
Ferniot recommended the establishment of a National School for Culinary Arts which would offer students a wide range of courses including languages, management, physiology, tax systems and even foreign cuisine.