I've long avoided the Olive Gardens and Applebee's of the world because I know going into it that the food is trucked in and reheated to order. I've even stopped going to a place I liked for breakfast nearby when their pancakes started tasting too much like that commercial flavor-enhancer you can even buy in home kitchen-sized bottles now.
So what are the French up to? There's a proposal from their restaurant union to restrict the title "restaurant" to establishments where food is cooked from scratch. A government minister has proposed a logo on menus for dishes which are "home made".
French restaurants acknowledge serving factory-frozen food
PARIS — It is the warmest memory of many a vacation in France: the little Paris restaurant where a white-aproned waiter served a dish glorified on the menu as something homey like blanquette de veau grand-mere, topped off with a still-tepid creme brulee that was just the right mix of crackly and creamy.
The trouble with this picture, it turns out, is that in 21st-century France, chances are high that both the stew and the dessert were assembled and cooked on a production line in a distant suburban factory, that they were quick-frozen and trucked to the restaurant, that they were then microwaved for unsuspecting diners who thought they were sampling traditional French cuisine.
In a survey conducted for the National Union of Hotel, Restaurant and Cafe Operators, a third of French restaurants acknowledged serving such factory-frozen products to clients. Restaurant owners estimated that the real number is substantially higher, as many chefs were embarrassed to admit the short cuts that, in effect, hoodwink their customers.
Do you believe you have the right to know what you're buying at a restaurant is prepared onsite vs. what is trucked in and reheated? I sure do.