Fouquet's fowl falls foul of the food flics

A PARIS court yesterday fined the former manager of Fouquet's, the restaurant at 99 Avenue des Champs-Elysees, 40,000 francs ( pounds 4,500) for a menu of gastronomic sins including serving frozen food billed as fresh.

Maurice Msellatti, who twice saved the prestigious site on the corner of the Avenue George V from developers and had Fouquet's classified as a historical monument, reacted with Gallic disdain: 'What is this campaign to destroy the flower of French gastronomy?' - the blazer-clad Mr Msellatti fulminated once the short hearing was over. He was, however, spared the greatest humiliation the court could have ordered: paying for publication of the judgment in the national press.

Mr Msellatti's troubles began in July 1992 when a fraud squad inspector and a sergeant checked the kitchens against the menu. One item was 'cheese from the farm'. The policemen discovered bills from a Paris wholesaler. Only the goat's cheese came direct from the producer. Mr Msellati protested that the Paris-bought products were intended for staff lunches, not for elegant, well-heeled clients who pay up to Fr500 a head.

Dismissing this explanation as 'classically banal', Nicolas Blot, the prosecutor, called for a Fr40,000-50,000 fine for that offence.

Still more lurid were complaints about hygiene. The policemen said they had seen 'adult-size' cockroaches in the crockery storage areas and flies crawling over unpeeled potatoes. Mr Msellati blamed them on the cleaning company responsible for hygiene. The flies were 'preferable to insecticides' and 'there are always flies around potatoes in July'.

Finally, the freezer contained three packets of foie gras and a tuna. Mr Msellatti said an employee had put the foie gras there on his own initiative; to cut the thin slices necessary for a carpaccio of tuna the fish had to be hardened by freezing.

In March, Mr Msellatti's wife, who took over running the restaurant in August 1992, will appear to explain how Poulet de Bresse and yet more foie gras happened to be in the freezer during another swoop.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker / Trainee Broker / Closer - OTE £250,000

£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...

Guru Careers: Software Developer / Web Developer (PHP / MYSQL)

£30 - 40k + Benefits & Bonus: Guru Careers: A Software / Web Developer (PHP / ...

Recruitment Genius: ICT Operations Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is the single governing and regul...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufa...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935