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Thomas Keller Responds to 2-Star Per Se Review; Taste-Testing McDonald's Chocolate Fries

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Five things to know today.

McDonald's chocolate fries: why?
McDonald's chocolate fries: why?
Christopher Jue/Getty Images

Yesterday's Eater feature, "Escaping the Restaurant Industry's Motherhood Trap," included some telling and rightfully inflammatory anecdotes about how would-be mothers in the hospitality industry are learning just how inhospitable of an industry it can be. Commenters from across the internet spoke up about their own experiences, and restaurant groups from coast to coast chimed in on the issue. Have some thoughts of your own? Leave 'em here.

In today's essential food news: Last night Thomas Keller finally responded to the New York Times 2-star review of his fine dining restaurant Per Se; lunch between French president Francois Holland and Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani was cancelled because of the wine; some crazy person tasted and reviewed McDonald's chocolate-covered fries on camera; mobile payment app Venmo has partnered with a food delivery service; and finally, lay your eyes upon a 432-foot tequila funnel.

— Thomas Keller, the multi-starred perfectionist chef who launched a new era in American fine dining in the late '90s with his Napa Valley restaurant the French Laundry, has come out of hiding after the New York Times' restaurant critic Pete Wells panned his pricey tasting menu-only restaurant Per Se a few weeks ago. He — in words clearly filtered through a crew of publicists and communications personnel — basically apologizes to diners for falling short of their expectations. Curious that Keller didn't think as much of it when Eater's chief critic Ryan Sutton dropped two stars on the mediocre, over-priced dining experience late last year.

— Do not take a Frenchman away from his wine. Earlier this week a meeting between French President Francois Holland and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was cancelled because Holland refused to take the wine off the menu. The meeting was set to take place at a restaurant in Paris, and the menu included a classic French meal along with French wine. Rouhani requested that the meal be halal, as he is Muslim, but Hollande's staff said preparing the meal to be "Iran friendly" went against France's republican values. So much for culinary diplomacy.

— A popular YouTube vlogger tasted McDonald's new chocolate-covered fries on camera and... is lovin' it, apparently.

— Venmo, the personal payment app popular among millennials, is branching out. According to The Verge, users will now be able to order from other apps from within Venmo. Food delivery startup Munchery is one of the app's newest partners, so now instead of ordering food over the phone or via Seamless with a friend and paying them via Venmo, you can just do it all in Venmo.

— Finally, a 432-foot long tequila funnel that's absolutely essential for your next house party:

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