Thursday, April 2, 2020

The French Kitchen offering COVID-19-convenient drone delivery, and more

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 1:15 PM

Can you believe it? Drone delivery! How about that?! - COURTESY THE FRENCH KITCHEN
  • Courtesy The French Kitchen
  • Can you believe it? Drone delivery! How about that?!

****UPDATE: 1:07 P.M., THURSDAY, APRIL 2****

Since yesterday's April Fool's Day post, we caught back up with TFK owner/chef Blandine Mazéran to see how the spoof went over as a whole.

She reports one big highlight: getting a call from the Federal Aviation Administration due to a complaint made that someone was selling baguettes by drone. The FAA apparently made it clear that this isn't allowed, prompting the TFK staff to let them know it was a joke.

Among other calls and messages received, Mazéran says there was a request for a big birthday delivery for some children and another from a neighborhood in a more remote area asking for drone delivery of cookies. Another call came internationally, from a company that apparently delivers medical supplies in Africa, who was asking about TFK's drone specs or something, she says.

So, yeah, um ... guess we can say this was a successful prank.

****ORIGINAL POST: 3:08 P.M., WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1****

Ok, the shelf life of this joke won't last much past April 1 anyway, so let's go ahead and acknowledge The French Kitchen's April Fool's joke as a well-timed and welcome reprieve from constant, heavy COVID-19 news lately.

Yes, many people were fooled, says TFK owner Blandine Mazéran, noting many phone calls to the business with folks saying they can't find the button online for ordering drone service. "It's going great and getting us new clients," she says. "We're inviting people to like our pages and hoping to increase our customer base."

One commenter on the Culinary Distancing Facebook group, where Mazéran shared the joke, wrote, "This is great, what is the delivery distance for the drone? I’m in Monument..."
click to enlarge The former retail bakery and cafe space has been converted into a staging ground for to-go orders for baking supplies and more. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The former retail bakery and cafe space has been converted into a staging ground for to-go orders for baking supplies and more.

But, joking aside, it's been serious business lately for Mazéran and her crew, pivoting the business to address the laws of the COVID-19 shutdown and needs of her clientele.

TFK was forced to cancel all TFK’s cooking classes, their main staple, and take a huge financial hit with upcoming class reimbursements. And since the retail bakery and cafe too had to cease on-site service, she had to investigate pickup and delivery options.

So, virtually overnight, TFK began selling baking supplies along with baked goods and Mazéran and visiting instructor/chef Shane Lyons (Nosh, Distilled NY) created to-go family meals, becoming so busy that Mazéran actually had to hire for new positions (during a time of tremendous layoffs everywhere). “The parking lot is full of cars and I’m super happy,” says Mazéran, “we’ve had a big response.”

click to enlarge New family meals include Beef Bourguinon, Coq au Vin, shepherd’s pie, and chicken pot pie. - DAVE+SONYA PHOTOGRAPHY
  • dave+sonya photography
  • New family meals include Beef Bourguinon, Coq au Vin, shepherd’s pie, and chicken pot pie.

Among other baked goods and products, TFK now sells boutique high-fat butter and high-protein unbromated and unbleached flour which yields much better baking results that commercially available flours, she says. Family meals include Beef Bourguinon, Coq au Vin, shepherd’s pie, and bestselling chicken pot pie, plus sides like mac and cheese and cauliflower gratin. “If Shane hadn’t been here, I’d have probably shut my doors,” she adds.
click to enlarge Consulting chef Shane Lyons, now adding to his resume the title of "modern-era French resistance fighter." - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Consulting chef Shane Lyons, now adding to his resume the title of "modern-era French resistance fighter."

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