The Official Opening Night Gala dinner was held last night at the swish new venue in town, the Electrolux Agora Pavilion, which has been especially built on the beachfront for all official dining events during the Festival.
So now the jurors and movie stars can wander over from the Palais after a screening, and straight into the venue…instead of trying to navigate their way through traffic jams and streams of pedestrians.
Last night’s diners – Robert de Niro, Uma Thurman, Woody Allen and more – enjoyed a feast of lobster, veal mignon and a decadent chocolate dessert, accompanied by the classic (and eat-some-moreish) French madeleine.
The menu was created by Alain Ducasse, the recipient of the largest number of Michelin stars in the world, and was prepared by the 40 chefs of his team, Le Nôtre.
In order to cater for the 650 guests, Electrolux served 350 lobsters and over 80 kilos of veal filet mignon. 700 courgette flowers were eaten and the whole meal was washed down with 525 litres, or 700 bottles, of red and white wine. (At precisely the same time this was being devoured, I ate an omelette with a single lazy leaf of lettuce!)
Guests also enjoyed a luxurious 150 bottles of champagne and feasted on 70kgs of chocolate in the dessert.
One hundred waiters were in charge of making sure the service ran smoothly and to keep 2000 glasses polished and 3000 plates filled, emptied and cleared away. Guests used over 5000 pieces of cutlery which, when laid end to end, would be the equivalent of at least 12 struts up the famous red carpet of the Palais de Festival.
The Agora is quite stunningly made from 160 panels of glass (including a unique glass kitchen),affording it one of the greatest views on the Croisette as well as allowing people the chance to catch a glimpse of the goings-on behind the scenes of the Festival.
The Agora is the largest temporary structure along the Croisette and was built over 2 weeks by 51 people. As the building will be returned to this spot next year, each concrete block has been tracked by GPS so that, in 2012, the builders can pinpoint the exact places of the foundation holes in the sand – ensuring this part of the beach can easily go back to its main use of sunbathing.
The space will be split between the official Festival and Electrolux events, and will be the key location for Festival de Cannes deliberations as well as the first ever world exclusive Electrolux Menu de Cannes competition where stylists, chefs and designers compete to cook for the Cannes Festival Jury.
If you’d like to try this at home, Ducasse’s menu for the Opening Gala was:
Côte de Romaine et légumes croquants
Royale d’olives et tomates confites
Filet mignon de veau en “Gremolata”
Amandes torréflées et courgette fleur
Chocolat en suspension
Zestes de citron et Madeleine tiède