Panera Bread, aka your Aunt Cheryl’s favorite fast casual food chain, has come under fire by those who weren’t yet convinced the food is, as one correct Twitter user called it, “glorified hospital food” (except for the french onion soup, which I find to be quite pleasing to the palate).
A Panera employee’s video titled “exposing Panera” went mega-viral on TikTok last week for the hackish manner in which the “clean” food chain prepares its mac and cheese.
The video, which has amassed over 10.5 million views, features a Panera Bread worker placing a frozen bag of macaroni and cheese into a vat of boiling water, with the cackling color commentary of a man who seems to relish in this technique.
Panera spokeswoman Jessica Hesselschwerdt confirmed to USA TODAY that Panera does indeed freeze its soups and mac and cheese “to avoid using certain preservatives that do not meet our clean standards.” The chain also told the Washington Post that the product “made offsite with our proprietary recipe developed by our chefs.” “Chefs.”
Panera’s company line owning up to the practice didn’t stop them from firing the employee, who confirmed it on Twitter:
It’s almost more ridiculous to realistically think there is a Panera chef back there grating the cheese and rolling dough into pasta. I’m sure this is a standard practice for budget restaurant chains across America, but there’s something super “fuck it” about dropping a pre-packaged plastic pouch into boiling water and serving it on a ceramic plate.
P.S. The Panera hate on Twitter is out of control.
Pray for Panera.