Chefs battle factory food

Ducasse leads fight against the three-quarters of restaurants in France who just ‘reheat frozen food’

FIFTEEN leading chefs have launched a new appellation for restaurants to show those which make all their food themselves – and the other three-quarters who buy in “factory-made” meals.

The move by the Collège Culinaire de France – a group led by Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon and including chefs such as Anne-Sophie Pic, Yannick Alleno, Paul Bocuse and Michel Guérard – would see a special Restaurant de Qualité label to distinguish "artisans restaurateurs" from those “who know how to reheat frozen food”.

Launching the scheme, multiple Michelin star holder Alain Ducasse said: “Of the 150,000 restaurants in France, three-quarters of them are just factory produce. The others fight hard to cook fresh produce. It’s them we are targeting.”

He said that chefs cooking fresh food themselves, in their own kitchens, and offering good hospitality would be recognised with the new label no matter what prices they set.

These artisans restaurateurs would be “militants for quality” in the battle against "commerçants restaurateurs" and would be chosen whether they were restaurants, auberges and bistrots whether in big cities or small village towns.

Ducasse said hospitality was a vital part of their scheme and added: “There are too many restaurants in France where as soon as you enter they greet you with a grumpy look on their face.”

He said artisans restaurateurs should send in their details to the college and would be entitled to display an enamel plaque. Customers would vote on the internet for good kitchens but restaurants would lose the plaque if they received too many complaints.
Photo: Bruno Cordioli