Chef Alain Ducasse and the 15-person College Culinaire de France have launched a new seal of approval to fight what they believe are sliding standards in French cooking. Launched yesterday, the "quality restaurant" label aims to help the dining public know which restaurants "provide information on the origins of their products, prepare their own food and offer a warm welcome," Ducasse explained to AFP. This new evaluation responds to the College Culinaire's concern that "Of the 150,000 French restaurants, three quarters of them do only industrial cooking. The others fight to cook using fresh products."
In order to receive "quality restaurant" status, restaurants must request an inspection from the College Culinaire. To maintain its label, the restaurant must remain at a 75% customer satisfaction rating "on a website set up for the initiative." Ducasse explains the College's decision as a matter of being on the offensive. "We cannot wait for things to get worse ... We cannot continue to let media in the English-speaking world say 'France is not what it was' in terms of cuisine."