Acclaimed restaurant critic Egon Ronay today branded burgers served up by fast food chains McDonald’s and Burger King as “inedible” – but heaped praise on their chips.
The former restaurateur criticised the quality of the meat on offer, saying it tasted as if it come from “a clapped-out cow.”
But rather than join critics of Burger King and McDonald’s Mr Ronay said he approved of the rest of their menu.
In particular he described the fries they sell as “some of the best in the country.”
His comments come at the end of a two-year contract in Britain to improve catering at motorway service areas operated by the Welcome Break chain.
Along with his team of inspectors Mr Ronay monitored the food and drink on offer to travellers, including a number of Burger King and McDonald’s franchises located within the services.
While praising the two companies for the quality of their salads, chicken and desserts, he added: “The beefburgers are between two nice rolls but the meat is inedible. They are terrible. The meat tastes like it comes from clapped-out cows but they can’t afford decent meat at the price their serve it at.
“If you take a piece of rubbish, wrap it up in tissue paper and add a pink bow it is still rubbish underneath.”
Mr Ronay and his team produced more than 5,000 reports over the past two years on the food and drink served in Welcome Break’s 40 motorway service areas.
About 1,500 different raw materials were initially vetted to ensure they were of good enough quality for the company’s main restaurants.
Along with better training schemes and reward programmes Mr Ronay says he is pleased with the changes achieved.
“Having been a restaurateur for 25 years before publishing my guides it was most satisfying, after my years of criticism, actually to do something about the quality of motorway catering of at least one major operator,” said Mr Ronay who used to published well-known dining guides.
Ian Tokelove, from the Food Commission pressure group which campaigns for wholesome food, questioned whether it was just the beef served by Burger King and McDonald’s that was “unhealthy.”
“Their food is very high in fat and salt, that is why it tastes good and what our bodies are programmed to like,” he said. “Unfortunately we eat far too much of it.”
Burger King said in a statement: “We pride ourselves on the high quality of the beef used in our products.
“Only high quality ground beef taken from the flank and forequarter of the animal is used.
“BK flames grills its hamburgers and Whoppers, rather than frying them in oil.”
McDonald’s said: “All McDonald’s products are made from the highest quality ingredients and are produced in accordance with McDonald’s strict quality control standards.
“We would be delighted to have the opportunity to show Egon our commitment to these standards.”