Thursday, February 21, 2013

Old spaghetti head is back ..... again!

Quebec tongue troopers backtrack on Buonanolle's menue
Friday, February 22, 2013
In a three paragraph statement issued Wednesday night, the Office quebecois de la langue francaise tried to turn down the heat generated by its move against the Buonanotte on St. Laurent Boulevard just north of Sherbrooke Street West. (Photograph by John Mahoney/Montreal Gazette)

MONTREAL — Let pasta be pasta, not pâtes alimentaires.

Quebec's language watchdog has backtracked after controversy boiled over regarding its attempt to change the menu at Montreal's Buonanotte restaurant.

In a statement issued Wednesday night, the Office québécois de la langue française acknowledged having displayed "an excess of zeal."

One of its tongue troopers issued Buonanotte an official letter following up on an inspector's visit prompted by a complaint. The letter called for French-language equivalents for menu terms in the language of Michelangelo, words such as "antipasti," "carne," and "pesce" were cited in addition to "pasta."

The menu items at Buonanotte, on St. Laurent Boulelvard north of Sherbrooke Street are described in French, not English.

The move by the Office caused a social media uproar.
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A firestorm of spicy comment was peppered largely with sarcasm and ridicule — notably the use of the Twitter hashtag #pastagate and the anonymous Twitter account @QuebecPasta.

The controversy has even made headlines internationally, appearing on the website of Italian newspaper Corriere della sera.

In a statement, the Office said it has begun a review of the situation and "will consider the particularities of the restaurant, notably taking into account the exception (under language law) relating to foreign specialties, foreseen under the statute."

Diane De Courcy, the Parti Québécois Minister responsible for the language law, said similar mistakes wouldn't be made in the future. She said the Office would be more careful to use a loophole in the application of the language law that offers some leeway for foreign cultural and food products.

"(The Office boss) will make adjustments in this case. But what's also most important, what she said, is that she will ensure that mistakes of that nature don't happen again," De Courcy said. "Not that there's ever a 100-per-cent guarantee — these are human beings doing these inspections."

The incident also encouraged other business owners to go public with their disputes with the OQLF.

One included a British-style fish and chips restaurant that said it was being forced to lose the "fish and chips," and another was a different Italian restaurant that was told to change its sign to translate "ristorante."

The Canadian Press contributed to this report


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