We are all familiar with the allures of France, no? The wine, the cheese, the culture, the romance… and most famously: the FOOD! Many tourists visit France for the cullinary experience more than anything else. BUT… did you realise that the majority of restaurants are using pre-bought and pre-processed foods?
That’s right, in one of the food capitals of the world, chefs are taking short cuts in even some of the most top end restaurants with, admittedly, delicious results. But this has raised concern that many restaurants are falsely claiming to have “home-made” dishes and that this is bad for the industry.
French consumers estimated, in a poll last October, that barely half of restaurant meals were home-made, while the Union of Hotel Skills and Industries suggests that 85% of restaurants secretly make use of frozen or vacuum-packed food.
In the country of Parmentier, Escoffier, and Paul Bocuse, to many people this just doesn’t seem right, so a law designed to uphold French culinary traditions was passed earlier this year, and came into force this week.
Now any restaurant that serves a home-made dish can indicate it on the menu with a new logo – in the shape of a saucepan with a roof-like lid. From next January it will be compulsory for all menus to carry the logo – so if you don’t see it, the food is not fait maison.
As with all laws of this nature, some people are pleased and some think it is not enough. The ruling seems to lay a good groundwork for more honesty on restaurant menus but there are several complaints.
Under the new law readymade pie crust, pate and stew will not qualify for the logo, but there are some exceptions.
Chefs can buy bread, pasta, cheese and wine, and also, more controversially, raw products that have been frozen, refrigerated, chopped, ground, smoked, or peeled – though this doesn’t extend to oven chips.
While some are unhappy about these exceptions and believe this is still cheating the veracity of the “home-made”claim, many are pleased with this law and believe it will encourage more home-made dishes to be produced.
On the other hand, there are also suggestions that if chefs only have one item, for example, on their menu that is home-made, they may remove this item so as not to show up how much of their menu is NOT home-made.
The most important thing, though, is that they chose to symbolise legally “home-made”dishes with a logo (shown above) so that foreign tourists could easily recognise whether they were eating the chef’s food or someone else’s that has been reheated and re-plated.
Thank goodness! We thought we would have to learn French… pictures are way easier!
Check out more details here from BBC.
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