October 15 2013 – Robert Fiumara
If you were asked to come up with a list of fresh gourmet restaurants in your area, how likely is it that McDonalds would appear anywhere on it? Yes, the fast food mega chain that has a location on almost every corner. It’s probably not very likely that their name comes rushing to the tip of your tongue when you think about classy cuisine. It is this very image, or lack thereof, that McDonalds wants to try to alter.
McDonalds recently hosted a special dinner in New York City where they feature upscale dishes created by celebrity chefs using the very same ingredients that are used in their everyday menu. While this may sound like a wacky episode of Food Network’s Chopped, this culinary experiment was handed off to the participating chefs with plenty of time to play with all of the available flavors and textures that the McDonalds landscape has to offer.
How creative can someone be with chicken nuggets and French fries? You may be surprised. Experienced culinary icons like Chef Aaron McCargo Jr., winner of the Next Food Network Star and host of the cooking show, Big Daddy’s House, Telemundo and Utilisima star James Tahhan, and Top Chef competitor, Dale Talde were given free reign in a McDonalds test kitchen and asked to stretch the limits of their culinary expertise.
This culinary experiment is intended to help change the way consumers view McDonald’s chains. The fast food giant has been struggling over the last couple of years to keep up the fast paced growth that they saw during the recession. Their attempts so far have included adding deluxe burgers with Habanero Ranch sauce and chicken wraps with rice wine vinegar.
Talde will try to wow the diners his take on Kung Pao Chicken using McDonald’s famous nuggets while Tahhan plans to take on a McDonald-ized version of tortilla espanola. McCargo hopes to do it up with a barbequed chicken recipe. It’s not just the famous chefs getting in on the action, in house dietician, Jessica Foust tries her hand at a pineapple smoothie mojito and French fry gnoochi.
We at Fiumara Apparel applaud the creativity and bravery that many chefs take when it comes to presenting some truly outstanding cuisine. We’d like to know what you think about this step for McDonald’s. Can drive thru fast food known for its greasy ease really be elevated to the level of gourmet?