Banning industrial food from restaurants is a proposal recently made to crack down on the proliferation of restaurants serving boil-in-a-bag or microwaved ready meals as restaurant-quality cuisine. Due to the current economic climate and a more fast food lifestyle and modern technology, restaurants can make higher profits and save on the expense of a real chef by serving industrialized food. The proposal is only one of several recent attempts to address what many see as the declining standards of France’s famed restaurants.
In April, the College Culinaire de France — a 15-member industry group founded by the country’s leading chefs — launched a new “quality restaurant” label awarded to eateries that meet top cooking and service standards.
The culinary group — which counts members such as Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon and Guy Savoy — will grant the label to deserving restaurants and make sure standards are maintained through online client surveys.
Many websites are also cropping up in France to advise consumers on restaurants where food is prepared in-house, such as “restaurantsquifontamanger.fr,” set up last year by food-lover Alain Tortosa.
What to do? Look for restaurants that have a smaller selection/limited menu, such as a plat du jour, which would more likely indicate homemade cooking.
Fast food and take-aways last year accounted for 54 percent of the French market, or 34 billion euros ($44 billion) in sales, for the first time outselling traditional sit-down meals with table service.