I recall one time, I was called in to work for a day in a hotel as a cleaner when I was 18. I head there and am assigned to work with another cleaner, older than me and I’m guessing middle-eastern. While we grabbed the sheets, towels and tools and put them on the trolley, she asked me what nationality I was. I was a bit confused, but thought nothing of it and said that I’m German.
Anyhow, she takes me to one of the rooms that is empty and needs to be cleaned and leaves me on my own. Well, okay. It’s cleaning, I don’t think I need someone looking over my shoulder. So I vacuum the rug, change the sheets, wipe down tables, etc, etc in the room and en suite bathroom. When I tell her I’m done, she pops in and looks and tells me I missed a lot and need to do more.
Well, okay. I thought the place was properly clean, but Hotel Clean is probably different from Home Clean. I go and redo the entire room, double-checking that I wiped every surface nicely. Second time, she still says there’s something wrong. I do everything a third time. At this point, I’m tired, my feet are killing me and I’ve been in this one room, cleaning and re-cleaning it, for about 2 hours. Yes, I was a total baby and began to cry in frustration.
Eventually, after the third cleaning is done, I ask the assigned cleaner to check and she brings the supervisor for cleaners as well.
When I eventually tell her that I have no idea what the problem is, she just looks at me and says, “But you said you are German!”
So yeah. She thought I am a naturally-born, instinct-inbred super cleaner JUST because I am German. Because, apparently, it’s a stereotype that all Germans are complete neat freaks. Aside from that being rude, it was stupid. My nationality in my passport says I’m German, because I was born in Germany. Never mind the fact that I am not being brought up in a “German way”.
I told them that I cannot do this and went home. (I unfortunately did not have the guts to tell the supervisor what the hell kind of practice that was. To not only throw a newbie teen-worker into a room and telling them “Do this” without giving proper instructions on what is expected in a hotel, but also to just blatantly ignore someone having such a… racial view on people)
Course, nothing came from the job, but that didn’t bother me.
In an attempt to knock the notion that their food is substandard, McDonald's marketing executives had a renowned chef make a five-course meal with the fast-food chain's ingredients and invited a group of food critics to give their opinion.
About 40 foodies who were invited to the event had no idea what they were walking into, other than that Los Angeles-based chef Neal Fraser, a former Top Chef Masters competitor and chef/owner of the well-respected Redbird restaurant, was preparing the 'experimental' meal.
It was only at the end of the dinner - which included courses of chilled avocado soup and coffee custard - that Fraser revealed the fact that he had used the same ingredients sourced by the Golden Arches.
The reveal left some in the room genuinely shocked, while other critics felt betrayed by Fraser for selling out and luring them into what amounts to a McDonald's advertising campaign.
Fraser told the OC Register that he initially declined McDonald's challenge to craft the dinner, but eventually agreed when he realized that the chain's ingredients weren't so different from the products he uses at Redbird. Redbird even uses the same chicken supplier - Tyson - as McDonald's. He was also paid an undisclosed amount to take part in the event.
The dinner was held on February 3 at the Carondelet House in Los Angeles and an invitation for the event promised only 'a night of culinary exploration'.
The first course was a chilled avocado soup with a dollop of sour cream. Fraser says the addition of sour cream was the only ingredient not used at the chain that was included on the menu.
Next came a green salad with bacon, tomato, garlic croutons and a buttermilk dressing. A trio of spicy meatballs in a tomato sauce, followed by bacon-wrapped chicken on a bed of corn and potato hash made up the more hefty portion of the meal. Diners were given a final course of coffee custard with blueberries and a maple crumble for dessert.
At the end of the meal, Fraser came out and asked his guests to guess what the meal was made from and someone reportedly yelled out 'Golden arches'.
While that suggests Fraser didn't trick everyone in the room, the publicity stunt was apparently successful enough that McDonald's plans to post video of the dinner online later this month.
Throughout the meal, diners were encouraged to tweet and Instagram their meal with the hashtag #atasteofsocal, and many of the reviews were positive.
However, critics who attended the event and spoke out after the big reveal say that it was clear something was 'off' with the meal and some even feel betrayed by Fraser for selling out and luring them into the publicity stunt.
'It seemed a little off from what he normally serves,' Danielle Salmon who writes for a food blog called Follow My Gut said, according to The Guardian. 'We were thinking it was a weird secret ingredient.'
Sarah Bennett told LA Weekly that she knew right off the bat that something was wrong, and is upset with how the dinner has been portrayed as a genuine surprise in some media accounts.
'The first course was straight pepper and cold avocado in a bowl, which made me decide that Neal was not actually in the kitchen,' she said.
Bennett added: 'I did not know it was McDonald's, but I did know very early on that this was not food that fit the quality of the golden silverware they were having me eat it with, much less anything that Neal Fraser would ever f*** with at any of his restaurants.'
She even claims that she was seated next to an actor at the dinner 'whose only job was to smile as he ate for "reaction shots."'
'Neal apologized a few times afterward, saying, "Please don't hate me," but now I kind of do.
'As a journalist with a genuine interest in his projects, he wasted my time with a fake dinner where he served me sh***y food that I didn't eat just so that some McDonald's franchise owner could be like "See? We use real food in our restaurants!"
'I did not feel duped as much by the food as I did by the chef who used his name value to lure all these unsuspecting, eager food bloggers (and a few food media professionals) into some publicity stunt that only makes me never want to eat McDonald's that much more,' Bennett added.
Fraser suspected there would be a few opinions like Bennett's when he took on the challenge, telling the OC Register before the reveal that 'I just hope no one hits me'.
When reached for comment by Eater, Fraser defended his decision to take part in the experiment.
'It was an intriguing experiment. The challenge was the draw. Is it controversial? Sure. But this is also a means to keep the conversation going,' the chef said.
A marketing company that works for McDonald's organized the event and some of the funding likely came from corporate.