French Foodies Fight Ready-Made Meals Served in Restaurants

The move is meant to protect the country’s global reputation for gastronomic excellence.

  • Share
  • Read Later

French chefs Gerald Passedat, Alain Ducasse, Thierry Marx and Alain Dutournier pose during the launch of a new label for "quality restaurants" at the "College culinaire de France" in Paris on April 8, 2013.

In a move to protect France’s global reputation for gastronomic excellence, French foodies are attempting to ban outlets that sell meals prepared in advance from being called restaurants.

National Assembly member Daniel Fasquelle, with support from a restaurant union, has put forward a proposal that will preserve the term for places that serve food that has been “cooked on site with fresh ingredients,” says the Synhorcat union president Didier Chenet. The measure would prohibit any establishment that serves food that has been frozen, pre-cooked or vacuum-packed from using the restaurant label. The proposal could be introduced as part of an amendment to an upcoming consumer protection law.

(MORE: French Food is Dead — Long Live La Cuisine Classique)

The initiative has the endorsement of celebrity chef Alain Ducasse who, along with 14 other top Michelin-starred chefs, has launched a separate initiative to give restaurants that prepare fresh food in their kitchens a seal of approval under the “Restaurant de Qualité” label. Ducasse says he wants to promote those “fighting to cook using fresh products.”

If agreed to, the changes’ impact would go beyond semantics. According to a documentary by France’s TV 5 last year, three quarters of France’s 150,000 restaurants served frozen or pre-made meals. Some establishments even offered ready-made meals endorsed by famous chefs as “house specialties.” A separate union study revealed that up to 67% of food establishments currently considered restaurants would be willing to replace ready-made meals with freshly cooked food if it meant holding on to the “restaurant” title. The Synhorcat union claims that the move could also result in 27, 000 new jobs as restaurants would have to employ more people to prepare the food.

(MOREEnjoy Old French Wine? How’s 2,500 Years For You?)

Not surprisingly, the initiative faces vocal opponents, including unions that represent France’s largest hotel and fast food outlets. They have voiced concerns that the move could result in job losses and create a gastrocracy. They released a statement in May arguing that the restriction of the use of the label “restaurant” would confuse not only the French public, but also foreign tourists.

Others are more cynical about the whole affair. Former restaurant critic Jonathan Meades told France’s English-language newspaper the Connexion that the label was a PR stunt designed to preserve “the mystery of cheffery.”

MORE: Gastrocats Beware, Luxury Foods Aren’t Worth It


¡Exactamente eso exijo yo para la palabra "Deporte"!, tengo siglos exigiendo que el Derecho Internacional, la ONU, se promueva una legislación internacional y local, en cada país, para prohibir por parte de los medios de comunicación el uso de la palabra "Deporte" como descripción del espectáculo circense alienante, embrutecedor, enajenante, que hace imbéciles a las personas, y que crea las penosas y horripilantes tragedias de manos de los "hinchas"; exijo que se les prohíba, ¡con caras multas!, a todo medio de comunicación que use esa palabra: "Deporte", para describir esa "nueva religión" que han creado y promueven los empresarios y comerciantes del ocio, la dejadez, la imbecilidad y la estupidez, y puse entre comillas lo de "nueva religión" porque fue Benjamín Franklin quien pronosticó certeramente que "Los deportes serían la nueva religión del futuro"; ¡prohibido que los medios de comunicación les llamen "Deporte" al Fútbol, al Béisbol y a las Olimpíadas!: ¡esos son espectáculos circenses funestos embrutecedores de comerciantes sin escrúpulos y antihumanos! 

Y los "restaurantes" franceses, que no se vanaglorien de nada, porque sus caros y elegantes centros, con sus caros e inteligentes chefs, no son más que centros de Alquimia donde ellos maceran, mezclan, hornean, poner ha hervir, fríen, los venenos gastronómicos elegantes y caros con los cuales están matando a la gente, ¡son centros de Alquimia en extremo venenosos y mortíferos!, ¡por mucho dinero que usted tenga, si usted aprecia su vida, no visite esos centros de envenenamiento colectivos elegantes y caros!

Digo yo: "El ser humano no necesita cocinar sus alimentos, éstos ya han sido cocinados por el Sol".


Exactly that I require myself to the word "Sport"!, I have ever demanding that international law, the UN, promote international and local legislation in each country, to prohibit by media use of the word "Sport" as a description of alienating circus, stultifying, alienating, that makes people stupid, and that creates the painful and horrifying tragedies at the hands of the "fans"; demand that prohibits them, with faces fines!, to all media to use the word "Sport" to describe this "new religion" that have created and promote entrepreneurs and traders of leisure, neglect, imbecility and stupidity, and I put it in quotation marks "new religion "because it was Benjamin Franklin who accurately predicted that" Sports would be the new religion of the future "; prohibited the media be called" Sport "to Football, to Baseball and the Olympics!: those are fatal brutalizing circus unscrupulous traders and antihuman!

And the "restaurants" French, not boast about anything, because its expensive and swanky, with their expensive and smart chefs are only Alchemy centers where they macerated, mixed, baked, has put boiling, frying, the elegant and expensive culinary poisons with which they are killing people, Alchemy centers are extremely poisonous and deadly!, however much money you have, if you value your life, do not visit these centers of collective poisoning elegant and expensive !

I said: "People do not need to cook their food, they have already been cooked by the sun." [Translated from Spanish by Google]


You know, I can't remember the last time I used the term restaurant except in general terms. Hey, let's all go down to D'Angelo's Restaurant. Nope... just... let's go down to D'Angelo's.


Old news, watch "European Vacation" for insight on how the french serve food. Its good that their finally admitting their culinary misconceptions though.