PARIS - A French government minister has been caught on camera describing the food served to Chinese leader Xi Jinping at a state dinner this week as “revolting”.
Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan were supposed to enjoy the very best that French gastronomy has to offer on their three-day visit earlier this week.
On the first leg of their trip, in Lyon, they were treated to sea bass with lobster sauce followed by hay and thyme-flavoured lamb cooked by a selection of France’s most celebrated chefs.
But in an embarrassing gaffe, Trade Minister Nicole Bricq suggested the in-house catering for a state banquet given for Xi at President Francois Hollande’s Elysee Palace in Paris left much to be desired.
Bricq was unaware microphones were picking up her comments when she told Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault that his lunch in honour of Xi had been far better.
“At the Elysee, it wasn’t (up to scratch) at all... it was revolting. It has to be said,” she was heard telling Ayrault and his wife Brigitte in a video clip posted online by France TV.
It is not known what was on the menu of the state dinner, but on his official Facebook page, Elysee chef Guillaume Gomez appeared to react to Bricq’s comments by thanking those who had sent him messages of support.
“Along with the squad, we will continue to do our job with the same passion and the same devotion,” he wrote.
One netizen reacted on his page by saying Bricq was “too spoilt”.
“In any case, next week she will be fired. It was her last dinner at the Elysee,” Charlye Mazet added, referring to the strong likelihood of a government reshuffle after the second round of local elections Sunday in which the ruling Socialists are expected to get trounced.