French chef stews, sues over face in Big Mac ad

February 18, 1992|By New York Times News Service

PARIS -- Since McDonald's opened its first restaurant in France in 1979, an uneasy truce has held between this country's fine chefs and promoters of "le fast food." Now a McDonald's advertising campaign that appears to mock one of the greatest French chefs of all, Paul Bocuse, has led to open hostilities.

Mr. Bocuse is suing McDonald's Corp. for $2.7 million. The ads, which appeared in 66 McDonald's restaurants in the Netherlands, show Mr. Bocuse and four disciples examining a pile of plump chickens, but the caption suggests they are dreaming of a Big Mac.

"At first, when I saw this, I thought it was a vulgar joke," said Mr. Bocuse. "But when I found out these were real Big Mac advertisements, I immediately contacted my lawyers. . . . How can I be seen promoting this tasteless, boneless food in which everything is soft?"

Jean-Luc Soulier, a lawyer for Mr. Bocuse, described the advertisement as "an intolerable insult to the pope of world cusine."

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