Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cheating chefs leave bad taste with fake food

The Times

From Adam Sage in Paris

THE table is laid, the waiter has taken the order and the diners are looking forward to an outstanding French meal.
But in the kitchen, the chefs are spraying an omelette with a truffle-flavoured chemical and injecting fake wild-mushroom drops into a duck filet.
Science fiction? No, this is the reality in many French restaurants, which are “cheating” their customers with a growing range of artificial products, according to gastronomic purists. They say that the use of flavourings to enhance the taste of otherwise ordinary dishes is misleading because they are rarely mentioned on the menu.
For years, secrecy surrounded the products, which come in liquid and powdered form. They were an unspoken ingredient of contemporary Gallic gastronomy.
But their existence has been brought into the open by two leading chefs, Joel Robuchon and Alain Passard, who have both spoken out against what they describe as a “scandal”.


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