Maïté, the Sunday cook who brought the terroir back to television

First, Armagnac! » It is with this formula that Maïté has often launched the presentation of her recipes in “La Cuisine des mousquetaires”. A way to provoke agri-food standardization and fussy plates. From 1983 to 1997, this Landes matron, more Porthos than d’Artagnan, scraped with eels, ducks, game and foie gras, to the delight of viewers of France 3 Aquitaine, then those of the channel’s national network. Through this theatrical South-West, the French nourished their quest for roots and terroirs.

The ORTF had already promoted our local specialities, from 1966 to 1968, by asking regional teams to produce reports that were then broadcast on all screens in France in the “Regional Gastronomy” program. Built like a documentary, we saw amateur cooks celebrating kig ha farz in Tréguier (Côtes-d’Armor) or bourride in Sète (Hérault). But it was not until 1981 and the beginning of the Mitterrand years that these heritage dives became a fundamental trend, as historian Olivier Roger recounts in The kitchen in show. Revenue programs on French television (1953-2012) (INA editions, 2016).

“’The Kitchen of the Musketeers’, for me, is the kitchen of miracles. I was a worker, a woman like everyone else, even less than everyone else” – Maïté, in 1993

The decentralization laws, in 1982, encourage the recognition of regional languages ​​and cultures. The France Régions 3 channel multiplies the reports on specialties, producers and cooks all over the territory. And even if cooking is not their job… This is the case of Maïté, born Marie-Thérèse Ordonez in Rion-des-Landes (Landes), volunteer cordon-bleu for local rugby players. Patrice Bellot, then director of a documentary on the history of the oval ball for France 3 Aquitaine, spotted her during a “quite hectic” third half. Maïté has just generously filled a hundred plates, and now the buxom forty-year-old is giving chest on The Dacquoisea classic of local ferias. “It caused a click, said Patrice Bellot in the early 1990s. I finally had in front of me the one we had been looking for, without success, for our project. »

Read also: Faustine Régnier: “In France, elitist gastronomy has always been enriched by what comes from elsewhere”

With the radio presenter-producer Micheline Banzet, he had indeed imagined a program around the gourmet universe of Alexandre Dumas, evoking the Gascon terroir of three musketeersbut also the gargantuan feasts praised by the novelist in his posthumous Large kitchen dictionary (1873). But it was necessary to find a character to the excess of this book listing thousands of stories and recipes, sometimes springing from an imagination crossed with frank fabrication.

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