McDonald's Tries to Improve Image By Serving Reporters Non-McDonald's

When you think of McDonald's, the corporate powers that be behind the golden arches would really prefer if your mind didn't immediately flash to expired garbage meat or wages barely preferable to indentured servitude or even their terrifying new toothed box of a mascot. No, McDonald's would rather be synonymous with class, sophistication and refinement, which is why they've taken to rounding up reporters and bloggers and serving them, basically, a bunch of food that is not McDonald's.

The Associated Press reports that last fall, the company held a night for food bloggers and reporters at an event space in Tribeca (as opposed to, say, at a McDonald's restaurant). "Celebrity chefs" fashioned haute cuisine out of ingredients from the chain's menu. Read: they took some fries and some McNuggets and buried them under actual food. In July, they did the same thing for another group of reporters who were in New Orleans to cover the Essence Festival. That event was also not held at a McDonald's.

The Tribeca menu included Kung Pao chicken made with McNuggets and garnished with parsley, a vegetable that is, in fairness, found at McDonald's restaurants: there's dehydrated parsley in the Vegetable Beef Soup, the 42nd ingredient in the dish, just after the potassium chloride. They also served slow-cooked beef over gnocchi that theoretically originiated from McDonald's fries, and, for dessert, a pumpkin spice "biznut" out of their biscuit mix. In New Orleans they had the king-sized brass balls to serve beignets, which were stuffed with grilled chicken and paired with their Honey Mustard Sauce, which, miraculously, contains both honey and mustard.

A McDonald's spokesperson told the AP there would be even more "chef events" in the coming months, the dates and times of which appear to be guarded like nuclear launch codes. There's no pretense whatsoever that any of these dishes will eventually make their way onto McDonald's menus: the idea seems to be to simple show that it's possible, theoretically, to make McNuggets into something real fancy.

McDonald's brand and strategy officer Kevin Newell told the AP that all this is part of "telling our story in a much more proactive manner." They're also rolling out other options, like "Build Your Own Burger" stations in Southern California, where you can get your burger cooked slower than a regular McDonald's burger.

Meanwhile, the company has no plans to pay their workers a living wage or let them unionize, unless of course they're sued into it.

[Image by Candice Choi via AP]