The IEHCA seeks to make the results of university research in the field of Food Studies readily accessible to all. To this end, events open to the general public are held at the Forum Alimentation et Culture (food and culture forum), a genuinely “open” university of gastronomic sciences.
Since 2004, the Rencontres François Rabelais (François Rabelais meetings) have been a key feature of the Forum Alimentation et Culture. They are characterised by the original principle on which they are based, namely the dialogue between two worlds of culinary thinking and practice: that of observers and originators of gastronomic discourse on the one hand, and food-sector stakeholders on the other. The Rencontres François Rabelais draw to a large extent on the humanities and social sciences (history, geography, sociology, etc) and, through workshops and round tables, reflect on the cuisine of today and tomorrow. They are aimed at a wide public audience; anyone convinced that the preparation of food is synonymous with culture.
A rich and varied cultural programme
From the struggle to achieve cultural pluralism to protecting biodiversity, the Forum Alimentation et Culture promotes the idea of a commitment to intelligent and coherent eclecticism. Long overlooked, these new fields of reflection merit further study, better analyses, more debate, and that the body of knowledge they represent be more widely disseminated. Through an original programme, the culinary arts are making their presence felt in establishments in and around Tours and across the Centre-Val de Loire region, including cafés, restaurants, bookshops, the university, schools and the Centre de Formation des Apprentis (apprentice training centre), all of which will serve as special locations for the expression of French culinary and gastronomic heritage. The variety of audiences, speakers and disciplines at events and venues like the Salon du livre gastronomique de Tours (Tours gastronomic book trade fair), historical cafés, cooking courses and residencies for chefs constitute not just a programme but an act of true engagement.