'Culinary terrorism' - Why French TV viewers are furious about Salade Niçoise recipe

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'Culinary terrorism' - Why French TV viewers are furious about Salade Niçoise recipe
TV chef Cyril Lignac's Salade Niçoise recipe sparked outrage. Photo: AFP

One of France's best-known TV chefs has been forced to backtrack after fury over his attempt to alter the recipe for French classic Salade Niçoise.


The TV channel M6 has been deluged with complaints over a recipe for the Mediterranean salad which included potatoes, beans and Parmesan, with some commentators labelling this 'culinary terrorism'.

The row broke out over the return of the TV show Tous en Cuisine  (everyone in the kitchen) presented by Cyril Lignac, a chef best known as a judge on France's version of Bake Off.

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He began the Tous en Cuisine series during lockdown, where it proved very popular as people cooked along with the show, producing a classic recipe.

There's an episode on Monday and as usual M6 has published a list of ingredients in advance, so people can stock up and get ready to cook with Cyril.

But it was when the ingredients list for the Salade Niçoise was published that it all kicked off - as it included items that are not in the traditional recipe.


After a storm of criticism, with people accusing the chef of "defiling our culture" and "sacrilege" a revised recipe was published, more in line with the historical salad (although it should be pointed out that many people also defended the idea of changes to classic recipes).


READ ALSO 'An insult to my country' - horror in France at croissant and cheese faux pas

The subject of salade niçoise composition is an important one in Nice. Photo: AFP

So what is in a Salade Niçoise?

It's one of France's most famous dishes and versions are served around the world, but it's also one that is frequently altered into forms that would have purists foaming at the mouth.

Ingredients that are commonly served in the salad in the rest of the world - such as potatoes and green beans - are not part of the classic recipe and neither is lettuce. 

And even tuna, often thought of as an integral part of the salad, is actually not as common in Nice as anchovies.


It's a divisive subject among chefs and Nice locals - one former mayor of Nice even wrote a book about it - but most people seem to agree that tomatoes, cucumbers and spring onions are included, along with hard-boiled eggs and black olives and some form of fish - either anchovies or tuna.

If tuna is used, it is more usually tinned or in oil, rather than a fresh tuna steak.

That said, there will probably be at least one outraged person telling us we are completely wrong . . .

You can find the revised M6 recipe here.

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