Chasing French Chefs out of France

The French bureaucracy is notorious for being one of the most onerous and challenging to navigate of developed countries. Those in favor of the current system explain that it helps to maintain tradition and the French way of life, known for its emphasis on fine wine and food — the country where the Slow Food movement was instituted.

However, in the ultimate of unintended consequences, Susan Stamberg on Morning Edition reports that the complex legal environment may be pushing many of France’s best chefs and restaurateurs to take their services to countries that are more hospitable toward businesses. Author Michael Steinberger explains:

Bread, wine and cheese makers have all faced problems, and high taxes and bureaucracy make running a restaurant so difficult that many of Paris’s top young chefs have defected to London or New York.

Instead of the traditional haute cuisine for which French chefs are known, many of the country’s entrepreneurs are instead moving toward bistronomy in restaurants that serve quality food in a more casual and affordable setting. Rather than protecting the French way of life, bureaucrats may be helping their traditions spread to other parts of the world and creating opportunities for new, less “French” businesses at home.

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