So French France

Blue-white-red collar and excellence: what's a Meilleur Ouvrier de France?

It's a title found only in France: "Meilleur Ouvrier de France". It's a title that takes immense effort to achieve, and rewards the very best in 230 different trades, even if the most famous are often in the world of Gastronomy. The title of M.O.F., which has been awarded to some of the greatest names in the world, is truly unique in France, but is rarely awarded. Monsieur de France reminds us who these "meilleurs ouvriers de France" are, recognizable by their red, white and blue collars.


Sorry for the translation errors. Our translator is far... very far... Very, very far from being "meilleur ouvrier de france" for translation.

What is a Meilleur Ouvrier de France?


At regular (but not annual) sessions,professionals apply to be judged by their peers in a competition. This competition, which they prepare months in advance, leads to the award of the "Meilleur Ouvrier de France" diploma , after several selections and a final examination . This title allows the public to know that the person bearing it is capable of the greatest excellence in his or her professional field.

In the restaurant trade, for example, a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (M.O.F.) is the guarantee of an exceptional table. The most renowned are often chefs, but M.O.F.s can be found in a wide range of fields that value the work of the hand and the mind: from watchmaking to woodworking, from tableware to jewelry.


It's a competition that only exists in France.


There is no equivalent of this competition anywhere else in the world. The meilleur ouvrier de France competition is unique to France. A France that is highlighted by the blue-white-red collar that the "meilleurs ouvriers de France" can display on their work clothes - their jacket, for example, in the case of chefs. Since 1932, they have also been awarded a medal. It is worn around the neck on special occasions. It features a man in profile with a square and compass. Diplomas are awarded at the Sorbonne (in Paris), and winners are also received by the President of the Republic at the Elysée Palace. One thing's for sure: when you come across a Meilleur Ouvrier de France, you come across the best in his field.


Photo chosen by via depositphotos

Photo chosen by via depositphotos


What is this competition?


The competition takes place every 3 or 4 years (not necessarily on a regular basis), and sometimes there is no winner and the title is not awarded. Everyone can apply in their own professional field, but the competition is very, very tough. After several selection exams, a final exam (between 2 and 35 hours maximum) is taken to obtain the grade. A minimum of 16/20 is required. Excellence, respect for the rules of the profession and innovation are judged.


How many of them are there?


They are rare. Since the competition was founded in 1925, fewer than 10,000 have won. By way of information, the XXVIth session, in 2019, saluted the talent of 237 people. There are many men, but women are also well represented, albeit more recently in the history of the competition. The first "meilleur ouvrière de France" in the kitchen is Andrée Rosier. She was appointed in 2007. Myriam Boubram won the competition in 2019 in welding. More and more women are applying for and winning the competition, and so much the better.


.Photo chosen by Karepastock via depositphotos.

Photo chosen by Karepastock via depositphotos.


What professions?


There are 230 trades in 17 professional fields. In the restaurant and catering sector, MOFs are particularly active in the culinary professions. Chef, barman, receptionist or maître d'hôtel and table arts, but also pastry chef, chocolatier, butcher... There are also MOFs in lacemaking, jewelry, fashion, ceramics and other luxury professions. Heritage trades such as carpentry and cabinetmaking are also well represented . There are even MOFs in swimming pool design, dry-cleaning, greengrocery, building smokery and computer-aided design of mechanical products. The full list is available on the official website.




Many M.O.F.s have been or are famous. Among them is the famous chef Paul Bocuse. In the same field, Frédéric Anton, Philippe Etchebest, Joël Robuchon (his legendary purée can be found on our site, just type Robuchon in the internal search engine) or Guillaume Gomez, the youngest in his category to have obtained the diploma (he became the chef of the Elysée Palace). Among the chocolatiers are Yves Thuriez and Pierre Hermé .


An idea born in the 1920s


In 1913, a journalist and politician named Lucien Klotz came up with the idea of creating a labor exhibition. The idea was (already!) to showcase the value of manual trades, so often disparaged despite their usefulness and beauty. This idea was finally put into practice in 1922, with the agreement of the Ministry of Commerce. Minister Lucien Dior declared: "I have decided to create an 'annual apprenticeship exhibition' at which the 'Premier Ouvrier de France' in each profession will be proclaimed. The first competition took place in 1925 .


Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site. 

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site.