September 5, 2014
Condiment Snobbery: Florida Bistro Bans Ketchup

In another assault on our constitutional rights, a Florida bistro has banned ketchup on its food. Okay, so maybe that's a little extreme, but the Mad Fresh Bistro in Fort Myers, Florida, has decreed that the popular condiment will not be served in their restaurant, which sparked an intense internet debate on the subject of ketchup.

Xavier Duclos, the chef at Mad Fresh, argues that his burgers are so good that they don't need ketchup. But instead of letting patrons decide for themselves, Duclos has taken the wholly unnecessary step of outright banning the condiment. The bistro's policy is very clear on the matter.

"We know, we know. People love their ketsup [sic]. 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."

In a report on ABC News, Duclos defended his actions, explaining why his food is better than one of the most popular condiments in the world.

"I don't serve ketchup because I don't have to. It's just sweet! It doesn't do anything for anything. My burgers don't need it. I have a sauce on every one of my burgers and ketchup would not go with it."

He goes on to describe his burgers.

"When I developed these burgers two years ago, I wanted to do something that nobody else did. I'm in between an Outback and a Carrabba's, and I don't want to compete with them. We use high-quality beef, very good buns, very good sauce, watercress instead of plain old lettuce, and it's conducive to a really good, juicy burger.

"I've had a couple people question it, and I say, 'You know what, just try it.' And every time someone's tried it, I've never had them say they don't like it. People who know me come to the restaurant for many other things besides burgers. What we make is good, so they keep coming."

The internet blew up with comments on the issue, calling Duclos everything from an "idiot" to a "food nazi." But Duclos stands behind his burgers and his decision. And he's not the first to disparage ketchup use. The city of Chicago as a whole will publicly ridicule you if you put ketchup on a hot dog, and as reported here on The Inquisitr, an "anti-ketchup" vendor was fired from Comerica Park in Detroit for refusing to give patrons ketchup packets while he sold hot dogs in the stands.

ketchup ban
Signs like this are common all around Chicago.

Regardless of where you stand, there is a growing resentment toward the sweet and tangy tomato-based condiment that seemingly makes everything it touches better. Ketchup is used in everything from barbecue sauces, to a dip for french fries, a covering for eggs and macaroni and cheese, to just about every other food. In fact, a myth during the Ronald Reagan presidency was that officials tried to get ketchup declared a "vegetable" for school lunch standards. They did, in fact, try to make ketchup and relish vegetables, but the notion was shot down rather quickly. Pizza, on the other hand, is another story.

So, ketchup is banned from a Florida bistro. Would such a ban deter you from visiting the establishment? Do you agree with the chef's assessment of his food versus ketchup? Will condiment snobbery become a thing (outside of Chicago)?

[Images courtesy of Google]