'Pasta' on Montreal menu cooks up controversy with language watchdog
Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013 12:44PM EST
Quebec's language watchdog has set its sights on one of the trendiest restaurants in Montreal, over the inclusion of the word 'pasta' on its menus.
According to the owner of Buonanotte on St. Laurent Blvd., the Office Quebecois de la langue francaise takes issue with restaurant's not having a French-language translation for that and other Italian words on its menu.
Massimo Lecas told CTV News that the restaurant received a letter from OQLF on Tuesday, after the language watchdog dispatched an inspector last September in response to a public complaint.
According to the letter, the menu's use of Italian words in the titles of some dishes, despite their being accompanied by descriptions in French, falls short of compliance with the province's language charter.
Other words singled out in the letter include "bottiglia" instead of bouteille, and "calamari" instead of calamar. The menu's use of the word "pizza" was not mentioned, however.
Lecas, who says he wanted to keep an Italian feel to his restaurant, told CTV News he thinks the language watchdog would be better served focusing on other issues.
"Shouldn't we protect the French language in a way that we should all learn to speak it better?" he said Wednesday. "We're not worried that half the people that speak French butcher the language, and everything, but we're worried about some guy writing pasta on his menu."
When asked whether he's ever heard from a customer complaining they didn't know what "pasta" is, Lecas laughed before offering his take.
"They say, 'following complaints' ... Complaint? Or inspectors going around looking for these things?"
When asked about the file, the minister responsible for anglophones and Montreal Jean-Francois Lisée said the OQLF's concern over the use of the word pasta might be "overdone."
With files from CTV Montreal's Rob Lurie