Les Quintessences, the competition for the best grocery store in France, will be once again chaired by Emmanuelle Jary in 2024.
Emmanuelle Jary

A president for the jury les Quintessences

For the past 20 years, Emmanuelle Jary has been a culinary journalist for the magazine "Saveurs". In 2016, she created the programme "C'est meilleur quand c'est bon" which reports on restaurateurs and producers throughout France in search of the best addresses. Broadcast on social media, C'est meilleur quand c'est bon today boasts 1 million subscribers across all broadcast media. Emmanuelle Jary is passionate by regional producers and small grocery shops, therefore she joined the Gourmet Selection Exhibition, for the fourth consecutive year, as an ambassador and president of the Les Quintessences 2024 competition.

Crédit photo : Marion Saupin

"While chefs do a great job of advocating for producers, grocers are the best showcase for a region when you are interested in what is good. We know the importance of product presentation and acquaintance with the people behind a honey, an oil, a confectionery product, a cold meat product, etc., in catalysing the purchasing process. The grocer selects the right products and then conveys the approach and commitment of a producer. These shops are our heritage. We must defend them. I am therefore delighted to contribute to their promotion through this competition."

Let's get to know each other!

  • What gets you out of bed in the morning? The prospect of meeting people who are working to defend goodness in France.
  • What is your motto? It's better when it's good.
  • What is your greatest culinary discovery? I can't single one out. All regional cuisines in their diversity when they are cultural markers and bear witness to a tradition..
  • What is on your wish list for this year? I would like to go and discover producers such as oil mills to promote oils other than olive oil, which is excessively publicised to the detriment of walnut oil, sunflower oil, etc. I would also like to film winegrowers..
  • What is your most unusual gastronomic encounter? The grenier medocain. Rolled and boiled pork belly. It doesn't look particularly appetising, but it's delicious - and even fascinating if you consider the history of this product. I could talk about it for hours..
  • What are you most proud of? Some of the messages from people who follow us and tell me that they have changed their way of eating thanks to the videos. For example, a mother told me that she stopped taking her children to fast food restaurants because of the videos.
  • In 3 words, how would you define Gourmet Selection? Search, goodness, commitment.

A judging panel jury gathered around its president for this 2024 edition  

Aurélien Bertrand, Founder of B&C Epicerie Laroque de Fa

Aurélien Bertrand

Born into a family of shopkeepers and winegrowers, Aurélien, 41, has been a rural grocer since 2016, after training as a lawyer.

He is also a member of the board of the Fédération des Epiciers de France and a member of the Collège Culinaire de France.

He was the Quintessences jury's Coup de Cœur in 2023 with his grocery shop B&C Epicerie Laroque de Fa, in Occitanie.

Marcelle Ratafia, Culinary journalist

Marcelle Ratafia

Author with a passion for culinary history, and an expert in edible etymologies.

A food critic and journalist, she contributes to Fooding and Time Out for their selection of restaurants and food shops. She contributes to the magazine C'est Meilleur Quand c'est Bon, notably on the selection of new products. Winner of the Curnonsky prize for wine journalism in 2023, she has co-authored 150 drôles d'expression de la cuisine with Yves Camdeborde, Parlons Vin Parlons bien au Robert and contributed to On va déguster Paris.

While we await the publication of her Histoire de la cuisine de rue by Marabout in September 2025, we'll be calling her Bectance, because she doesn't let the cat out of the bag!

Photo credit: Guillaume Blot

Founder of Causses and President of Fédération des Epiciers de France

Alexis Roux de Bézieux

President of the Fédération des Epiciers de France and founder of the 2 Causses grocery stores, quality general food in Paris.

Previous members of the jury

Stéphane MEJANES

Stephane Méjanès

A former sports journalist, Stéphane Méjanès has been writing about gastronomy since 2012, in all its dimensions, for sustainable food from seed to garbage can. A freelance journalist, he contributes to Octopus, Les Hardis, Trois Couleurs, Culs-de-Poule and BON magazine, among others.
Marion Sauveur

Marion Sauveur

As a food journalist for Europe 1, she likes to help people discover or rediscover our French terroirs. She goes to meet the producers and their nuggets, as well as the chefs.