French Consul General visits campus, talks food


Henry Bendon

Lacroix expressed a positive impression of Cleveland, saying it was home to the best meal he has had in the United States.

On Tuesday of last week, a small group of students and staff had the opportunity to meet with French Consul General Guillaume Lacroix. Lacroix, who works primarily out of the French Consulate office in Chicago, was in Cleveland visiting with local officials and generally being introduced to the city. He decided to stop by the Case Western Reserve University campus to meet with the students and staff involved in CWRU’s Slow Food club, which recently received an award from the French government.

Slow Food President Danielle Kulpins and La Dolce Vita President Reno Tarquinio were in attendance at the meeting to greet the Consul, but left to attend classes because the small reception was held at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday. Following their departure, the event turned into a spirited discussion between Lacroix, La Dolce Vita advisor Denise Caterinacci, SAGES fellow Mary Holmes and French Professor Charlotte Sanpere about the state of food in the United States and in France.

The conversation included some interesting remarks from Lacroix, who described the United States as a country on the rise in terms of its relationship with quality ingredients and healthy eating, and faulted his own country for, among other things, having and consuming the most McDonald’s per capita of any country in Europe.

The issue of locally sourced foods was one emphasized as a positive by both Lacroix as well as Holmes, who co-founded the North Union Farmers Market in Shaker Square. Holmes spoke about her efforts to offer classes teaching students about where food comes from and how they can eat more healthily and responsibly.

Lacroix also discussed his visit to Cleveland, which included a meeting with Mayor Frank G. Jackson the previous day. Lacroix said that he hoped his work could help connect Cleveland and other Midwestern cities with France economically, and said that he was a big fan of Cleveland as a city.

He also lofted praise on the Michael Symon restaurant Lola Bistro, whose pork chops he described as the best meal he’d eaten in the United States.