Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Homemade" Logos on French Menus

There seems to be quite a bit of discussion lately regarding new legislation within the food industry. A few weeks back, we explained the law about the new food handlers' certification required for all employees in a restaurant. Now, a law recently passed in France is causing some controversy when it comes to the idea of "homemade" cooking.

The food we consume is a serious matter. Don't get me wrong... we all want to eat better, and we all know that there is nothing better than a home cooked meal made from scratch using fresh ingredients. But starting this month in France, there will now be a logo that will be displayed in either restaurant windows or on menus (see right) that denotes if the food prepared there really is homemade. The government's intention is designed to highlight places to eat that make their own dishes, rather than bringing in frozen, pre-made meals. This is going to bring a lot of attention to those that use shortcuts when it comes to preparing their menu and charging premium prices for meals not really made from scratch. On paper, the law sounds like a great way for consumers to know which restaurants are feeding us fresh ingredients and which aren't.  But just days after the law passed, the questions and the controversy 

What exactly are the stipulations? Does everything in the dish have to come as "raw" ingredients? Does this really guarantee that the food is better for you? The list goes on and on in this anti-processed food movement.

According to the law, food must be made only from "raw ingredients," meaning the food product has undergone no significant modification, including being heated, marinated, assembled or a combination of those procedures. But the definition does allow any raw element that has been cut, frozen, refrigerated, smoked, ground, or peeled elsewhere still be used in dishes and labeled "homemade." French cuisine has always been an art but doesn't it seem like the lines have become blurred?

When it comes to our Uptown menu... when we use the terms "housemade," "fresh" or "from scratch," we really mean it. It is one of the things we feel sets us apart, plus we go through a lot of time, effort and creativity in putting all of our menu items together.

We make all of our salad dressings, sauces, soups, etc, from fresh vegetables and ingredients. We cut and age all of our meat. We filet every fish we serve. If you go to Applebee's or one of the other chains, you may get a soup served out of a can that was made months or years ago. There are a lot of places, where once you try it, you know it was either frozen or served out of a box.

You will never find that here.  So the question remains... would we actually be able to display the "homemade" logo if we were located in France? I would have to say so.

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