The head chef of the French Presidential Palace, Guillaume Gomez, led a very special cookery class yesterday.
Gomez was visiting the French ambassador’s resident in Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel. He was in the country to take part in the ‘So French, So Food’ gastronomy festival.
As part of his visit, he conducted a cookery class for around a dozen teenagers. The youngsters – both Jewish and Muslim – are involved with Beit Dror, a Tel Aviv-based organization providing accommodation for LGBTI youth rejected by their families.
One of those attending, identified only as O, came from an ultra-orthodox Jewish family. They had ceased contact with him after he came out at the age of 16.
‘What a chance to cook alongside a chef of this level,’ O told AFP.
Gomez taught the young people how to prepare cannelloni spinach gratin and apple pie.
Yael Doron, director of Beit Dror, said, ‘It’s good for them to participate in this workshop. This moment of happiness for these young people is not insignificant.’
Award-winning Guillaume Gomez
Gomez is well known in France and was the youngest chef to win the highly-prized Meilleur Ouvrier de France award in 2004, when he was just 25.
He posted photos of the event to his own social media, stating: ‘With Yael Doron of Beit Dror Refuge, which welcomes young teenagers from the LGBT community rejected by their parents because of their sexual orientation. This morning the young people cooked at the Residence de France with Julia, Dan and me. Through gastronomy we also want to transmit certain values, sharing, transmission, tolerance and love of fat!’
Israel is regarded as one of the most tolerant places in the Middle East with regard to LGBTI rights. There is an equal age of consent, anti-discrimination laws for sexual orientation, and annual Pride parades. However, among many religious groups, homophobic and transphobic discrimination persists.