Eater: Fig & Olive Exposed Using Pre-Made Frozen Food

Article here:


if that shit was frozen i’d like what they use for their crostinis mailed to me via FedEx immediately please.

I’ve never eaten there, and I do think it sounds a little bizarro but… if the food tastes good and the frozen food still requires a level of prep that far exceeds what a good home cook can do and if the restaurants are getting the shipments daily then… I don’t know if I see it being such a big deal.

Who did this surprise?..

Bouchon uses frozen fries. They are pretty tasty. Bouchon also uses procured sausages from some place in SF I believe. Not sure the sausages are frozen but definitely not one of the chef’s creations.

I’ve been twice to the Melrose Place location and once in midtown Manhattan. The food has always tasted consistently “pre-fab”, so this report makes total sense. Not itching to return anytime soon.

Frozen fries don’t bother me. As Serious Eats found, freezing actually improves the texture, and the best fries are double fried anyway imo. I also don’t have a problem with a chef sourcing sausage from somewhere else, as long as it’s a quality product. Based on the Eater article, however, I don’t think that’s what happened here.

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other than those who i describe as the professionally indignant, i expect that the most indignant will be the patrons with wounded vanities. and the pretentious palates will crow about how they could tell (whether they really could or not).

the reality is that “fresh = best tasting” is not true, especially when it comes to sushi neta. naomichi yasuda (who closed up shop in NYC a few years back and moved back to japan) proudly boasts of routinely freezing fish to improve their taste and texture. and if you prefer firm texture in cooked fish, you need to allow it to go through rigor mortis.

as for constituting/re-constituting meals that have been pre-made up to a certain point, a lot of recipes work that way. getting all that prep done at a central location ensures consistency of quality which would be typically more difficult to enforce for a national chain. there’s also a benefit in cost/time effectiveness - i routinely make sofrito in large batches and freeze it. saves me 20-30 minutes every time i make a recipe that uses sofrito as a flavor base.

the hellman’s mayo as the main ingredient in their aioli recipe cracked me up though.

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Except in the Bouchon cookbook, they tell you the exact process of making the french fries. I don’t mind it either, but is this a double standard. I find that in both cases of Bouchon, the ending result is delicious.

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Well, as TonyC points out, making things centrally allows for a more consistent product. Making french fries in small batches for your own meal is one thing, I assume making the huge amount of fries that are needed for multiple restaurants is a very different thing.

Hellman’s is our Best Foods, right? I think it’s great, so no complaints from me…

in this case, the issue isn’t how it tastes; aioli by definition is prepared differently than mayo by starting with the garlic - it has always about the garlic with the emulsion being the vehicle. though FWIW, traditional aioli uses olive oil and you should be able to taste the difference vs the canola oil/whatever that’s typically used for mayo

Ahhhh… Thanks for the clarification. I always assumed aioli used a “regular” mayo base.

i spent some time studying french cooking including some time in france, with an emphasis on the cuisine in provence, where aioli is often used to describe a platter of boiled veggies, fish and boiled eggs and aioli is the accompanying sauce. so i suppose i hold a minority purist view about it.

Thomas Keller was always very open about using frozen fries and many other chefs purchase certain ingredients (and name it on the menu) but pretty much only using the microwave in the kitchen (F&O) is a completely different issue (and I doubt that they were open about it)

Capitalism = business owners will do anything for money and customers will buy anything if the marketing is good enough.

If the drinks are strong enough, and the digs are pretty enough, a place could probably serve literal shit and be successful in WeHo/Bev Hills.

if i was goiing to use mayo, i’d use MSG-laden kewpie in the squeeze bottle. david chang of momofuku swears by the stuff. he also uses the cheapie squid brand fish sauce as a umami source.

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So does this mean your stance has changed since this last post?

Here is the thread where we discussed Yasuda:

This part is actually incorrect. Rigor mortis sets in quickly. So how it relates to neta is that you have to let the fish age so the muscles relax and come out of rigor mortis and thus the fish becomes more tender.