Los Angeles based chef, Neal Fraser, tricked a bunch of food critics by serving them food made from McDonald’s ingredients and didn’t tell them what they had eaten until after the meal. A Bravo Top Chef Masters contestant, Fraser is known for his delicious creations at restaurants Redbird and Fritzi (at the Arts District Brewery).
Fraser served a five-course meal to 40 food writers, informing them that the ingredients used were “fresh” and “experimental”, but nothing more. Everyone complied without more questioning, as you do when you’re invited to eat a free five-course meal from a top chef. After dessert was served, Fraser was all, ‘Thanks for coming out, everyone. P.S. That was McD’s.’
If you’re wondering exactly what “food made from McDonald’s ingredients” means, food critic Follow My Gut who was in attendance explains it for us in an Instagram comment: “Chef Fraser had access to use any ingredient or food that is delivered to the restaurant. That includes foods like fries, beef patties, chicken and English Muffins. It also included individual ingredients used to make up a dish like the buttermilk dressing on the McWrap. He was not deconstructing menu items.”
So, what possessed Fraser to do such an experiment? Well, he didn’t want to at first, but McDonald’s convinced him (see: paid him a large, undisclosed sum of money).
President of the McDonald’s Operators’ Association of Southern California, Clay Paschen III, said of the dinner surprise, “Unfortunately the perception is that it (our food) comes through the back door processed. But we cook. We have a kitchen. Starbucks doesn’t.”
So, what did Fraser have to say about the McD’s trick? He tells Eater, “It was an intriguing experiment. The challenge was the draw. Is it controversial? Sure. But this is also a means to keep the conversation going.”