The food may or may not be very fresh at the Mad Fresh Bistro in Fort Myers, Florida, but there’s no doubt that someone at the restaurant is very mad, indeed. (Spoiler alert: It’s the chef.)
Fort Myers is renown for many things, including deep-sea fishing, golf courses, and white-sand beaches, although not so much its 5-star French cuisine. Xavier Duclos is the chef at Mad Fresh Bistro, where the menu includes pretty basic French-inspired fare including tartines and cheese plates. Also on the menu are burgers — just don’t expect your request for ketchup to accompany it or the fries to be honored.
According to the restaurant’s website:
“We know, we know. Please love their ketsup (sic). But honestly, be ready. If you’re over 10 years old, ketsup will NOT be provided. Similarly, salt won’t be making an appearance next to your meal, either. We simply ask that you trust us. We know what we’re doing! Part of the MAD experience is to trust the chef, and not have preconceived notions of what your dish is going to need.”
You’d think perhaps the website announcement is just a bunch of pretentious drivel — particularly with the seemingly erudite spelling of “ketsup,” except on the actual menu,”ketchup” is spelled correctly. And real pretentious people are nothing if not consistent in their pretentiousness.
No, the chef doesn’t appear to be pretentious so much as just a jerk, bragging, “I had someone try and sneak ketchup in here and I kicked them out.”
He’s not even a trailblazer, as a school in France banned ketchup from its cafeteria a couple of years ago, although they were also serving such gourmet fare as roast veal with blue cheese sauce. Chef Duclos might actually have scored some sophistication points for his menu had he not felt the need to put a pronunciation guide and definition on there for tartines. Real sophisticated people have far too much class to correct people who might mispronounce a pretty simple word.
But since the ketchup die is already cast, Chef Duclos should consider digging his hole a bit deeper and adding even more bans to the restaurant:
You might as well, since any burger served with “artisan blue cheese, watercress & caramelized onions and mushrooms” will be like a fate worse than death to them, anyway. Especially if they can’t drown out the taste with ketchup.
Fort Myers isn’t Palm Beach. Do you really want to deal with customers dropping in from places like Fort Lauderdale or Tampa wearing a florescent tank top or flip flops? It may be Florida, but it needn’t feel like spring break.
3. French People
The chef doesn’t really want to risk the ridicule of people who know real gourmet food. Or at least people who know enough to just turn their nose up quietly at people who don’t, not ridicule them on websites to drum up business.
4. Pretentious People
If Chef Duclos were banned from his own dining room, it might actually mean it would be a nice place to eat.
Or at least toilets. If these people who want to eat know what’s good for them, it’ll be bidets ONLY from here on out. They’ll get some culture shoved in them if it’s the last thing they do (do).