As much as you expect a chef to be in the kitchen grilling or pan-frying you a fresh cut of meat, it could be that the meat is instead coming out of the freezer and — yikes — going into the microwave. To be fair, meat can take a long time to cook properly. This means that any pre-preparation, like breading the meat, makes the process take even longer.
This leaves many kitchens looking for shortcuts. Unfortunately, that shortcut is often freezing pre-made meat entrees. Dishes like chicken parmesan are notorious for being premade and frozen, so much so that many chefs in the know never order chicken parmesan, even at a high-end restaurant (via Salon).
This isn’t only an American problem, either. France, known worldwide for its gourmet cuisine, has been struggling to keep restaurants and bakeries from becoming mere vending machines of reheated factory food, as The Washington Post reports. While it’s cheaper, faster, and easier for restaurants to order premade meals that can be heated up by a minimum wage, entry-level employee, that’s definitely not what diners are expecting outside of fast-food chains. And if that’s all customers are going to get, there’s no reason to go to an expensive restaurant when the same thing can be ordered from a discount menu.