A Gourmet Chef Tricked Food Experts Into Eating McDonald’s

Can't wait to see what @nealfraser has planned! #atasteofsocal ?

A photo posted by Kara Schachter (@karas827) on

Fine dining and McDonald’s generally don’t fit together in the same sentence. The fast food chain where you go to snarf a Big Mac, buy a shake for that much-needed afternoon sugar rush, or rage about mozzarella sticks that don’t include any actual cheese in them isn’t exactly thought of as gourmet. But could you use the Golden Arches ingredients to trick people who get paid to obsess over flavor profiles and farm-to-table sourcing? Yep. And a chef who’s involved with The James Beard Foundation did just that.

The shenanigans — perpetrated by Chef Neal Fraser — were a promotion for the fast food giant planned by the Southern California franchises with backing from McDonald’s national. Fraser, who’s appeared on Top Chef Masters, told food bloggers that he’d be cooking a meal with “experimental” ingredients and then served them an entire smorgasbord of McDonald’s fare.

Does that mean foodies really can’t tell the difference between the stuff they use at the world’s finest dining establishments and the stuff you, a normal person, had for breakfast this morning? Kinda. There were some people claiming shenanigans according to the OC Register:

Unbeknownst to the foodie fanatics gathered in the 1928 Italian villa, Fraser would be serving them an upscale meal made with McDonald’s ingredients. Using foods that make up hero McDonald’s products such as Quarter Pounders and Egg McMuffins, Fraser’s tasting menu included a chilled avocado soup, a buttermilk dressed romaine salad with bacon bits and bacon-wrapped chicken.

Midway through the meal, food blogger Salmon said her table began to wonder what was going on.

“It seemed a little off from what he normally serves,” said Salmon, “Chief Eating Officer” for a restaurant discovery blog called “Follow My Gut.” “We were thinking it was a weird secret ingredient.”

#atasteofsocal-Neal Fraser & Amy Knoll Fraser @ The Carondelet House.

A photo posted by Chef Eric Crowley (@chefericsculinaryclassroom) on

That weird secret ingredient? Love. And a whole lot of McDonald’s. And, it turns out, while some people guessed that the food came from the fast food chain–which dreamed up this stunt to let everyone know that its ingredients are not all processed or coming directly from bags–others were so shocked they could barely speak.

The one dish people really didn’t love was the soup made from McDonald’s guacamole, but the rest of the dinner was a complete success. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll get the same food at the restaurant, of course. Fraser’s meal wasn’t just based on ingredients; he’s a culinary master. But at least now you can pretend you’re eating gourmet when you go through the drive-thru for lunch four days in a row.

(Via The OC Register)