Edmond Kassapian
by Shirley Lau

South China Morning Post
May 5, 2006 Friday

La Rochelle-based Edmond Kassapian is the president of Genevieve
Lethu, a 15-year-old French tableware and cutlery brand that opened
its first store in Hong Kong in December. An Armenian born in France,
Kassapian has a penchant for Chinese tableware, although, he says,
when it comes to fine quality you can't beat France.

"I like the beautiful colours and designs of Chinese tableware,
especially those with lovely flowers. The details are very precise.

In terms of quality, however, French products are relatively finer and
more sophisticated. But, of course, Chinese antiques are excellent."

Should top tableware be used for dining or for display only?

"In France, every family used to keep a very expensive set of tableware
at home. You put it on display and only used it once or twice in a
lifetime - perhaps when your grandfather came to visit or at your
wedding. It was so expensive you worried about breaking it.

This was silly, but it was the French way. Now things are changing.

People would rather spend the money on a plasma TV or a trip abroad.

They still want beautiful tableware, but it has to be inexpensive.

That's why the prices of many tableware brands have gone down."

How does the look of tableware play a part in a dining experience?

"Aesthetics are integral to dining and wining. When you have friends
over for dinner, you want to make sure you have a good time. You serve
them with good food on beautiful plates. It's not just the meal that
matters, but also the decoration of everything on the table."

So nice plates make the food taste nicer?

"You can put fois gras on the floor and eat it. Or you can put it
on a nice plate. It should taste the same. But the sentiment will be
very different."