EAT YOUR HEART OUT

Photos: Instagram chef parodies Michelin-style plating with junk food masterpieces

In a flash of grease and sugar, junk food staples like Bugles, Hot Pockets, corn dogs and fast-food chicken “poppers” have infiltrated the exclusive world of food art. An anonymous Instagram chef going by the pseudonym Jacques LaMerde is making a splash on social media by plating and photographing lowbrow food, switching out edible flowers and artisanal pancetta for preservatives and pink slime.

A lot of work goes into each unlikely preparation. Colorful arrangements are finished with reductions and garnishes of coleslaw ash, Miracle Whip crema, and even “raw cake batter romanced with charred Rice Krispies.” Real, slow-poached egg yolks grace some plates.

Each image is captioned with the obsessive detail of a tasting menu description, with a maniacal twist. “I CALL THIS DISH ‘BUGS ON A STICK B/C THE CRAISINS R THE ‘BUGS’ AND THE CHEEZE WHIZ/CELERY IS THE STICK,” writes LaMerde, lampooning elite kitchens’ exotic re-interpretations of childhood favorites. “KINDER EGGS ARE ILLEGAL IN THE US,” he notes on another image, in imitation of the restaurant scene’s prized forbidden foods, from foie gras to ortolan.

With hashtags like #gastroart #foodporn #artofplating #cheflife and #wildchefs, the mad chef’s account has drawn a sincere Instagram following. In only 24 posts, the mysterious LaMerde has gained nearly 44,000 followers.

That’s the last, delicious layer of joke. Foodies can’t help but follow the feed, even as it mocks foodie culture. Junk or not, these plates are perfect.

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