The French government has launched a stamp-of-approval scheme that will recognise restaurants for honouring the country's gastronomic heritage.
Under the plan, spearheaded by the Culture Ministry, restaurants that use fresh produce and provide decent service will be able to call themselves "Maitre (Master) Restaurateur".
The scheme, which will recognise about 20% of France's 100,000 eateries, hopes to weed out chefs using tinned vegetables and dried sauces and aims to provide diners with a more coherent picture of what they are being served.
A maitre restaurateur must use fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients and is expected to prepare at least 80% of the dishes in-house. Inspection teams of chefs and civil servants will hand out the three-year title and the menu must comprise at least four starters, main courses and desserts.
Jeff Galvin, joint chef-proprietor at Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, in London, said the scheme was a great idea and could work in the UK.
"We suffer greatly from restaurants writing things on their menus that they don't actually serve," he told Caterer. "A scheme such as this could be hugely beneficial and give diners a clear insight into what they are getting."
By Kerstin Kühn
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