Certification for homemade restaurants in France

Collège Culinaire de FranceFifteen of the greatest French chefs, including Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon, under the auspices of Le College Culinaire de France, have launched a certification highlighting restaurants that prepare their own dishes and offer good hospitality.

Simply called Fait Maison, meaning homemade, this is an award that I think is long overdue.

AubergeThere have been too many times recently when we have eaten out in France and have noticed that in a busy restaurant the kitchen doesn’t seem to be manic at all, with hardly a chef to be seen. The dishes, though often pleasant enough, aren’t exciting, in spite of over-elaborate garnishes… Once, when I returned home after such a meal I did a quick Google search to find that the identical dishes were available from a catering company.

I don’t have a problem with pre-prepared food per se, as long as it is of good quality; indeed I remember an early producer, Alveston Kitchens, based in Stratford-upon-Avon selling its dishes back in 1968. But in an ideal world I think we, the customers, should be told that the food is bought in.

Aperitif
Which, of course, is impossible, so chapeau (hats off) to these top chefs who have come up with this great idea of the Homemade certification.

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They also insist that the restaurants should be welcoming, as far too many places greet you with a sulk – “Il y a trop de restaurants en France où quand vous entrez, on vous fait la gueule”.

Plat du JourThe establishments, be they restaurant, auberge or bistro, must apply for the certification by providing evidence that they cook their own food with good ingredients. Their customers will also be questioned via the internet and if there is a minimum of 75% positive responses, and the panel of 15 chefs are satisfied, then the certificate will be awarded.

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I would imagine that there is a fee to apply, The fee is €35.80 incl VAT per month but I do think it will be well worth it.

Open.

Amazingly, of the 150,000 restaurants in France, 75% use bought-in dishes – ‘industrial’ cuisine.

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There are reasons behind this move away from homemade food: not only is employment in France very expensive, with the government taking almost as much in taxes as the wages paid, but also there is the crazy constraint of the 35 hour week.

Le Panoramic.
Let’s see if this idea works. I feel certain that many homemade restaurants, often with few tables, and run diligently by a husband-and-wife team will be proud of the enamel plaque gracing their entrance!

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What do you think?

You can read the original press release in French.

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Updated 11th April 2013:
Further details of the Restaurant de Qualité certification and application procedure

 

2 thoughts on “Certification for homemade restaurants in France

  1. To weird.

    If restaurants aren’t making my food I can have it delivered to my house and eat comfortably with Sam and a better selection of wine.

    Don’ t have any indication that any of this is happening here.

    Used to have a dive bar down the street from a loft years ago. They cooked nothing and everyone ordered take out to be delivered to the bar. That I liked!

    • Thank you for your comment. It is indeed weird, Arnold, especially considering France’s ‘gastronomic’ heritage.

Do let me know what you think!