Fouquet's fowl falls foul of the food flics
Thursday 13 January 1994
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.
- 1 Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
- 2 Model's video shoot on the beach interrupted by sudden landing of a group of illegal migrants
- 3 The difference between a psychopath and a sociopath
- 4 MH370 search: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
- 5 'Killer robots' with AI must be banned, urge Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and thousands of others in open letter
Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
Israel accused of killing 75 children during day of 'carnage' and war crimes in Gaza war
Australia to impose 24-hour curfew on all cats to protect endangered species
Walter Palmer: Cecil the lion killer revealed to be American dentist
MH370 search: Boeing 777 wing that could match missing plane found on the French island of Reunion
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Labour leadership contest: I would never quit the party, says Liz Kendall
£27000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre Scho...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250...
£17900 - £20300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An enthusiastic Marketing Assis...
£24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This contract caterer is proud ...