The Compagnons de Prosper Montagné association will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Saturday, June 25, with a parade in the city center and a gourmet meal. Back in an adventure full of culinary passion, but also friendship.
Do you know the Carcassonne Prosper Montagné? This question was asked nine years ago to the inhabitants of the prefecture of Aude. “We had a micro sidewalk in the market, run by students from the BTS trade of the Lycée Saint-Stanislassays Alfonso Caravaca. Most people thought we were talking about Prosper Mérimée!” Even today, many are unaware of the life and heritage of this son of the country, but recognized worldwide by professionals of good cuisine and gastronomy.
“When it comes to French cuisine, chefs all over the world know Auguste Escoffier and Prosper Montagné”, insists André Pachon, an illustrious chef from Carcassonne whose establishments have been promoting the department’s traditional dishes in Japan for half a century… starting with the cassoulet. The man has also been a member, for forty years, of the Japanese Prosper Montagné Association. He who was born in Carcassonne in 1865 was indeed both, to use the words of Alphonse Caravaca, “eminent cook, scholar and writer”. Author of multiple books, including the first Larousse Gastronomique in 1938, his influence on French gastronomy and his distribution to the four corners of the world was considerable.
Prosper Montagné said that Cassoulet was a three-headed god.
“At the time of his death, he made his friends promise to perpetuate his work”, continues Alfonso Caravaca. This is how the Prosper Montagné International Club was born in Paris: it is in particular at the origin of the “the oldest culinary competition in France”real “antechamber of future stars and MOF”. Associations affiliated to this club were then born in many countries… but Prosper Montagné’s home town seemed to have forgotten the importance of his legacy. Until 2012.
That year, Alphonse Caravaca and Philippe Soulier were still eminent members of the Universal Cassoulet Academy. “Prosper Montagné said of cassoulet that he was a god with three heads: Castelnaudary the father, Carcassonne the son and Toulouse the Holy Spirit. From then on, it seemed obvious to us to try a rapprochement with the International Club”. This project was not successful, but never mind: the two accomplices immediately founded the Compagnons de Prosper Montagné association. The work of reintegrating the illustrious chef could begin, and it goes without saying that these enthusiasts did not do things by halves.
Ten years later, the Carcassonne structure has nearly 70 members, including breeders, restaurateurs, hoteliers, butchers… “All catering professionssummarizes Alfonso Caravaca, who holds the position of president. We are a link between all these actors, but also between them and consumers, and we defend everything related to eating well”. To do this, the association has multiplied the appointments, often in the form of gastronomic meals whose menus include dishes prepared by Prosper Montagné. “There is Saint-Vincent, Good France, and we are also joining forces with existing events to promote the wines and products of our terroirs.” In addition to all these appointments, the Companions also signed brilliant plays that also contributed to reinscribing Prosper Montagné in the history of Carcassonne.
“One of our goals when setting up the association was to get the headquarters of the International Club transferred to Carcassonne”says Alfonso Caravaca. Mission accomplished thanks to André Fournet, then president of the Club, sensitive to the idea of having a connection in the hometown of Prosper Montagné – and who had also done his military service… at 3me RPMMa. During the same period, the Carcassonne salons were renamed “Halles Prosper Montagné”; Subsequently, a “Prosper Montagné space” will be created for hotel and restaurant students on the Purple Campus in Carcassonne. However, it was in 2014 that the Companions really hit the nail on the head.
“That year we managed to move the Porsper Montagné Club International Culinary Award to Carcassonne, which in principle is always held in Paris.” André Pachon or Gilles Goujon in a jury chaired by Joël Robuchon… A great celebration of French gastronomy, which was not the last. In fact, the breach is repaired: for ten years, Prosper Montagné’s last wish is respected even in his own city.
Parade and gastronomic food
The tenth anniversary of the Compagnons de Prosper Montagné association will be celebrated with great fanfare on Saturday, June 25, in Carcassonne. The festivities will begin in the morning, starting at 10 am, with a parade through the center of the village in which the trumpets and the Corbières men’s choir will take part. The city tour will pass in particular Rue de Verdun, Square Gambetta and Place Carnot.
At 1:00 p.m., there will be a gourmet meal (of course) under the Halles Prosper Montagné. Invented by Gauthier Hille, a member of Compagnons and French catering champion, it will give pride of place to the dishes of Prosper Montagné’s kitchen. 40 euros per person: registration at prospermontagnecarcassonne.fr.
Finally, note that Saturday June 25 will be Saint-Prosper. We call it attention to detail.