Gastronomy: Chefs, the new ambassadors of luxury
Paul Pairet for Hublot, Massimo Bottura for Gucci, Christophe Michalak for Clarins, Philippe Etchebest for Land Rover or Jean-François Piège for Piaget... So many great chefs who join forces with iconic luxury brands, sometimes far from the world of gastronomy. Perfect symbiosis, true sharing of values or simple marketing strategy, how and why does luxury choose these new ambassadors of taste?
Unprecedented media coverage
More than ever, cooking has a place of its own in the French media landscape. Successful TV shows, rock star cooking festivals, international magazine covers, highly followed tutorials and even the title of "favorite French personality" for some chefs... In short, an undeniable popularity rating. Definitely, the culinary art is everywhere and seduces even counter-intuitive sectors such as fashion, watchmaking or even the automotive industry. A craze and a popularity that have the particularity to reach a very large public, sometimes far from the social cleavages that some media characters may encounter. Chefs appeal to everyone (or almost everyone) and the authentic and simple values they embody resonate with the greatest number.
As Thibaut de La Rivière, director of Sup de Luxe, points out: "Far from the outdated and solitary image of the chef, today's ambassadors have never shone so brightly and their know-how has never been so well recognized. A significant media coverage which, beyond the culinary field, generates sometimes surprising partnerships with luxury industries. Chefs have, in a short time, become ideal ambassadors."
But behind this media coverage and popularity, how and why do chefs embody the values and codes of the great luxury houses?
A meaningful sharing of values
If luxury is the ideal alliance between a quality product/service and a powerful storytelling, it is still necessary for the latter to resonate with customers. Indeed, more than ever, the luxury industry is looking for a vector capable of transmitting an authentic experience, a carrier of value and proximity. Far from Hollywood ambassadors or inaccessible personalities, luxury today must create an authentic, realistic and concrete link with its customers. In this case, chefs benefit from a unique influence through the universe they represent. The value of the terroir and nature, their varied and inspiring backgrounds, their creativity, their artistic sensitivity, their generosity... strong principles that allow to create a storytelling not only based on authenticity and proximity, but also on excellence.
Indeed, the very essence of luxury, through this choice of ambassadors, the brands highlight their founding values. Namely: the search for raw materials, the precision of gestures, the technicality, the rigor of work and above all the passion of the profession. Common ambitions and a symbiosis for a world where passion, excellence and creativity are king.
It is worth noting that, as for any public personality, chefs are nowadays accompanied, guided and represented by specialized agencies that take care of finding them the best contracts and the most relevant collaborations. On the other hand, in parallel to these promotional operations, some chefs also take on consulting roles for luxury hotels or large restaurants: creation of signature menus, culinary training, concept development... The profession is diversifying and chefs are becoming true communicators. This is a notable development that is highly prized, particularly by the watchmaking industry, which likes to maintain close ties with "haute cuisine". Blancpain (which has signed a major partnership with the Michelin Guide), Tag Heuer, Hublot... So many watch manufacturers with a common quest for excellence and who see these chefs as perfect representatives, a mixture of precision, admiration and respect.