Food Misrepresentation

How would you feel if you went to restaurant and were told that the produce was coming from local farms or the restaurant’s farm, but in reality it turned out the products were actually being imported from outside of the US? If the dish tasted good would you still care? What if the restaurant was a $$$$ fine dining place? Curious to hear your thoughts.

Yes. I think restaurants should be truthful. I also wouldn’t like to order a drink made with Tito’s and receive one made with Georgi.

Semi-related: This restaurant (which I generally like) claims that it “focuses on serving the freshest local sustainable farm to table foods that have been grown naturally in the Catskills.” You’ll note that the menu lists calamari, crab cakes, mussels, clams and salmon. None of which could possibly be local, unless there’s an ocean in Ulster County that I’ve somehow missed.


I think in some cases suppliers may mislead the restaurants about the products they give them. In that case the restaurant isn’t fully at fault. Maybe for not getting a more solid supplier. However, it’s irksome if the chef says, “Don’t worry, just tell the guests that salad was made with vegetables all grown on our farm”.

Have you experienced this?

We have a local restaurant who tries to source everything locally. Even to the point of financially supporting some farmers and ranchers. But they will reach outside the area if they have to.

Many places have the “local, sustainable, blah blah whenever possible” line. I sometimes interpret “whenever possible” to mean “when the price is right.” But if you tell me that all produce is organic, or the peach comes from Pigsnot Farms, I expect it to be, or at least have the wait person tell me no later than ordering that the pig didn’t sneeze this morning, and that the peach is from Sysco Can Gardens.

Again, have you had this happen and, if so, how did you find out?

I have not had it happen to me. I know a friend who has and they learned about it through friends of the restaurant they dined at.

Thanks. I had wondered. ‘Rumors’ can be so dangerous whereas you have facts. Good to know.

On the one hand, fraud is fraud. If you claim all your produce is given individual leaf trimmings by licensed aestheticians, and it turns out it’s just your sister in law with a flowbee, I supposed one could conceivably be cited or fined or sued by an irate customer. At most, I suspect a minor Internet pile-on would result. A lot of that verbiage is just puffery and doesn’t mean anything.

As opposed to the endemic problem of misidentification of seafood which definitely happens, and there’s blame to go around at all levels of the supply chain and is both of the honest mistake and purposeful fraud variety.

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I have not, but then, when your server is Miss Representation, I’m sure I have and just didn’t know.

Not being argumentative but I have no idea what that means.

Unless the restaurant is a place like SHED or Stone Barns, where the raison d’être of the place is its billing as being hyper-locavore, I could care less.

Everything else is basically white noise, barely above puffery. Less noteworthy than a corner burger stand touting that it has “The World’s Best Burgers”.