In her speech welcoming Verwaerde (pictured) and French Ambassador to Australia, Christophe Lecourtier, Groupe SEB Australia managing director Wivina Chaneliere provided guests with a history of the company and an insight into next year’s 60th birthday celebrations.

Tefal Function 27 October 2015 (10 of 17)

“Groupe SEB Australia was established 18 years ago and it has been a fabulous journey to date and many milestones mark this journey,” Chaneliere said.

“Groupe SEB was a tiny subsidiary when I joined it close to 15 years ago and we have gone through tremendous growth years, and like everyone else, since 2009 we have gone through tougher times. We have had to re-invent ourselves, adjust our direction, we have attempted many new initiatives, some have worked very well – cookware and linen namely – and some have failed (which I prefer not to mention, sometimes it’s still too painful).

“Our biggest asset is our brand – our French brand I may add. Indeed, Tefal started its journey 60 years ago in Sarcelles in France, a big milestone which we are going to celebrate in style next year. Tefal started in 1956 thanks to the ingenious idea of engineer Marc Gregoire who, at his wife’s request applied the non-stick coating to a frying pan. Tefal – which is a contraction of Tetrafluor and Aluminium) – started and it was an instant success.

“Closer to home in Australia, Tefal holds the unique position of having started many new categories in the industry thanks to the amazing innovation France is well known for – steam generators, low oil fryers, electrical pressure cookers and shredders to name a few, We also hold the unique French heritage with our brands in the small appliance industry.

“However, in the end we have always been perseverant and grown to become today a preferred partner to many of you present in this room. I would like to thank you for your support during all these years – and still years to come.”