Sacre Bleu! This is not homemade

French restaurants microwaving ready-made meals will soon be forced to disclose this to their customers.

The French government announced yesterday that meals prepared in a restaurant will have to be identified with a “homemade” logo, the lack of a logo will thereby show that items have been bought elsewhere and just re-heated.

paris-restaurantRestaurant caught using the logo falsely could be face a fine. The new legislation will apply to all restaurants: from  fast foods to fine-dining.

A survey by restaurant federation Synhorcat had found that  nearly a third of  French restaurants eateries owned up to using  some ready-made dishes.

The French  government is hoping the new law, will motivate more restaurants to prepare all their dishes from scratch to restore the standing of French gastronomy.

However many critics have argued the complexity of the new law will backfire and consumers will be none the wiser as to the providence of the food they consume when they eat out. Worries have also been raised the already overworked health inspectors face an uphill task in enforcing the law.

For restaurants to have the right to use the “homemade” label, dishes need to be prepared on the premises using “raw products that have not been heated or substantially altered before landing in a kitchen.” However products that are frozen, peeled, sliced or chopped elsewhere are still permitted under the new rules, with the notable exception of the humble French fry which cannot be labelled “homemade” if it is a frozen product.

Certain staple products such as  cheese, pasta and bread still be bought in be called “homemade”. Other loopholes include restaurants calling a  a dish  “homemade” as long as the brand of the product, or the name of the produce is specified.

Half of all food shoppers now buy “free from” food

Should you voluntarily follow a 'free-from' diet?UK shoppers have caused a surge in sales of  “free from” foods, as analysis shows half of of us now purchase items without gluten, wheat or lactose.

Despite just one per cent of the UK population are diagnosed with coeliac disease, a condition requiring sufferers to avoid all gluten, the market for “free from” foods has increased 200% over the past five years as increasing numbers cut out foods from their diet as part of a lifestyle choice.

Marks & Spencer are one retailer that have cashed in on the boom with its gluten-free product sales rising by than 100 per cent  in the last year. They continue to expand their product range and last week addded pizza bases, pancakes and even  gluten-free beers.

Data from Kantar Worldpanel shows that  55.2 per cent – are now buying “free from” products. The market has doubled in value to at £355 million. It is as The Grocer magazine describes “one of grocery’s great success stories”.

“Free from’s march on the British mainstream has been lent a huge helping hand by high-profile endorsements from celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Jessica Alba and Miley Cyrus,” it said.

“It is clear lifestyle choice plays a big part in the sector’s success. Far more consumers buy into free from than have been diagnosed with a food-related condition.

“For example, just one per cent of the UK population has been diagnosed with coeliac disease – an autoimmune condition that requires sufferers to avoid all gluten – and an estimated 15 per cent are intolerant to lactose. ”

David Jago, director innovation and insight at Mintel, said increasing availability and choice had contibuted to the rise in popularity of the range.

“The fashion factor helped to get it off the ground but it’s got beyond that now,” he said.

“There are a lot more products out there and they are a lot better quality than they used to be. And there’s much better presence and visibility in-store. It’s no longer a ghetto ”


Are smartphones causing diners to dawdle in restaurants

An online anonymous rant  by a manager of a ‘busy NYC restaurant’ claims that customers constantly using  phones are to blame for a huge increase in the time it takes to be served in restaurants.

The poster on Craigslist  claims to have studied surveillance videos from the last ten years and found that the average time it takes to service a customer has almost doubled.

The restauranteur came to the conclusion  that mobile phones are now such a  large distraction for customers that they prevent them from ordering as efficiently as they used to.

One theory posited was that customers spend a long time trying to connect to the restaurant’s free wifi, often calling the waiters over for help when they can’t connect.  Other distractions for waiting staff include being asked to take group photos of the customers. Then of course there is the recent trend for customers taking photos of every meal to be shared with friends on social media, time taking photos is time not eating the actual meal.


The poster, from Manhattan, doesn’t give away the  name of the restaurant but describes it as ‘a popular restaurant for both locals and tourists alike’.

‘We are grateful for everyone who comes into our restaurant, after all there are so many choices out there. But can you please be a bit more considerate?’


Crocodile curry claims to be the world’s hottest

A restaurant in Staffordshire has invented a recipe for what it claims to be world’s hottest curry.

The Dilshad in Chadsmoor has started serving ‘The Crocodile Inferno’  to its more adventurous  customers, made from as you might expect crocodile meat and claiming it is twice as hot as pepper spray the police sometimes use. It is apparently so full of chilli that the chefs who prepare it have to wear safety equipment to stop them from being overpowered by the fumes.

Dilshad owner Tony Uddin said the curry was certainly not for chilli lightweights.

“I believe this could be the hottest curry in the world,” he said. “The crocodile will literally be biting back as you eat it. You will feel an intense burning – it will be a torrid experience and not for the faint hearted.

Staff at The Dilshad encourage you to try to the world's hottest curry

Staff at The Dilshad encourage you to try to the world’s hottest curry

“There will be so much pain and toil and you will literally feel like you have wrestled a crocodile by the end of it.

“I am not sure anyone can finish it.”

Before any customer can try the Crocodile Inferno they have to sign a disclaimer form. The curry contains an array of some of the world’s hottest chillies including the ghost chilli, the Trinidad scorpion Butch T chilli pepper and the world’s hottest chilli the Carolina Reaper.

Any customer who isn’t beaten back by the ferocious heat will be awarded a prize:  curry lovers who manage to eat a whole portion of Crocodile Inferno will win a special T-shirt to remember the occasion.

So far according to their twitter feed no one has yet walked out in possession of the prize.