A group of French chefs in Japan started the “Caravan Bon Appetite” campaign for the survivors of the violent earthquake and tsunami in 2011, providing them basic food. In the mean time, the chefs also prepared recently a gourmet Christmas dinner at a school for children who fled Japan’s nuclear disaster.
Speaking about how they started the campaign, Frederic Madelaine, a pastry chef who works in Tokyo, said: “The idea came very quickly after the tragedy, and we started in April 2011. The first week we traveled every day with a different chef to provide hot meals to hundreds of evacuees. The conditions were tough, but we had to do something.”
Now, 12,000 meals later, the Caravan Bon Appetite continues to provide food every month from Tokyo, last week delivering an extra-special menu to the schoolchildren in Koriyama – with a little help from Father Christmas.
The children enjoyed the meal prepared by the chefs together with a clown, some jugglers and a group of singers, all helping to dish out scalloped potatoes, buttered vegetables and roast meat, followed by a Christmas log dessert topped with a strawberry.
Around 360 full meals and 200 snacks were prepared in the kitchens of the French embassy in Tokyo, before being loaded up and driven a few hours north, to be reheated and served, the press reports.
“It is a different flavor for their palates,” said chef Christophe Paucod. “For many it is the first time they have tasted French cuisine.”
“In this school, we were lucky to have ovens and other quasi-professional equipment, but this is not always the case, for example when we serve in barracks or gymnasiums,” said Madelaine.