First came McDo next the Texas Food Truck

The American Civil War gave rise to chuckwagon panhandlers whose heirs have crossed the Atlantic and now set up in Paris, to the enthusiastic approval of the capital’s branché youth.

Cantine California brings ‘bio’ burgers to Parisian markets (Copyright Cantine California)

Described as the ‘gastro-bobo de la baraque à frites’ by Rue 89 reporter Adrian De San Isidoro, this French Fry-up — version gastronomic — was launched in March this year by Jordan Feilders, a 28-year-old from Los Angeles who was brought up in France and is married to a Parisian.

Since then he has parked his Cantine California at  the Saint-Honoré market (in the Ier arrondissement), having decided that a Californian lifestyle and New York food are now a major draw for young Parisians. His a la carte truck offers include tacos, burgers and home made fries for 11 euros and he draws his inspiration from the truckers of  Venice Beach and Abbot Kinney back home in LA.  “Some of them offer sophisticated menus but I’ve opted for simple but high quality food,” he said.

He sources his meat from an organic coop in the  South-West and buys his bread from a Franco- Tunisian bakery.

What is surprising to France’s food traditionalists is that the food truckers — and Jordan Feilders is not the only American trucker in town — appear to have broken sacrosanct French taboos over eating in the street, eating with their hands and more importantly buying fairly pricey food off the back of a truck!

The truckers appear quickly to have carved out a niche for themselves at markets where they pay a daily stall fee, despite grumbles from neighbouring traditional restaurateurs.  One such, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Rue 89: ” We have a competitor who does not play by the  same rules. How much does he pay for his stall —  200 euros a  month? Us, we pay real rent. Then there is the greasy smell coming from his cooking which bothers customers on our esplanade! We’ll see how his manages in the winter, when it gets down to 0°C.”

The winter, if it remains that mild, is unlikely to bother the taco-truck however and indeed judging by some reports McDonald’s or (McDo as its known all over France) was just the start of a US food invasion which shows few signs of abating.

Indeed the New York Times reported earlier that: “American chefs are at the helm of some of Paris’s hippest restaurants, like Daniel Rose of Spring, Kevin O’Donnell of L’Office and Braden Perkins of Verjus. And the city’s collective crush on high-end hamburgers continues: Parisians are paying 29 euros, or just over $36, for the popular burger at Ralph’s, the Hamptons-Wyoming-chic restaurant in the palatial Ralph Lauren store.”

So will fast food à l’américaine finally finish off the fine dining that is revered across France and the world? Expect a fight back soon.

Story: Ken Pottinger

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