Passionate about gastronomy since her childhood, Elise Botiveau joined the World Food Travel Association as an ambassador for France in the middle of 2021. When asked when her passion began, she evokes with emotion her meeting with Paul Bocuse, when she was merely 3 years old. The Chef’s presence, the size of the kitchens and the effervescence of the brigade, left her with a magical memory. Growing up, she had the opportunity to travel a lot and gastronomy appeared to be a way to connect with local communities.
For Elise, France owes its reputation to its many know-hows, as well as to the organization of events such as the Year of Gastronomy, which makes it possible to promote French gastronomy throughout the world. Elise believes gastronomy tourism in France will experience a real revival after COVID. Consumers are looking for experiences and want a return to the source, which gastronomy allows. However, she believes consumers must also be actors in their experience. They must take the initiative to meet producers, artisans, and chefs to understand the history behind each product.
According to Elise, gastronomy is also a way to share real moments of life with people from a different culture than yours. For her, “gastrodiplomacy” describes the social interactions and mutual understanding that takes place around the table with people of different nationalities or cultures. Gastronomy is also a political and diplomatic tool that corresponds to the international relations around the table. When presidents and politicians meet over dinner, it is important that the chef takes into account the culinary habits and customs specific to each nation. This facilitates political relations and discussions. Gastronomy, therefore, occupies a particularly important place in tourism, culture and politics.
Passionate about all these subjects, Elise decided to change her life, after 20 years spent in IT. She created her company, Béchamels, which supports culinary companies in their development and transformation. Deeply committed, Elise ensures that her company fosters the development of local tourism, valuing craftspeople (“makers”) and facilitating access to employment of young people, women, etc.
It was while researching gastronomy tourism that Elise discovered the WFTA Ambassador program. The adventure as an Ambassador really began after Erik, founder and Executive Director of the association, interviewed her for one of WFTA’s podcasts. Elise had found her tribe. As an Ambassador, Elise is responsible for promoting the association in France, particularly in Paris, and participates in the organization of webinars and conferences on topics relating to gastronomy tourism. Finally, Elise says joining the program has been very beneficial for her company but also personally. The association’s advice, greater visibility, and frequent exchanges with Ambassadors from all over the world, are all advantages that she appreciates.
Curious to know more about gastronomy tourism in France and around the world? Make sure to explore the WFTA website. Elise will also be happy to discuss your culinary development and marketing projects, so do not hesitate to contact her through her Béchamels website!