The OQLF has a problem with "pasta"
When I saw a tweet from Buonanotte owner Massimo Lecas, I didn't quite believe it, so I gave him a call.
The restaurateur was indeed visited by the Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF), who pointed out a few alleged violations to Bill 101, including - and I wish I were joking - the word "pasta" on their menu.
Quebec has to be the only jurisdiction in the world where government inspectors prevent Italian restaurants from using the word "pasta" to describe their...pasta. I'm just beyond words at this point.
Massimo seems to be laughing it off. He's consulting his lawyer. I hope he says to the OQLF: "Va fangool!"
UPDATE (Feb. 20, 10 a.m.): OQLF spokesperson Martin Bergeron won't comment on the details of this case in specific, but told me that in general, no action would be taken for one or two offending words. But menus need to be at least half in French, even at Italian restaurants.
UPDATE (Feb. 22, 1 p.m.): What began as a musing on my blog on Tuesday has become an international embarrassment for Quebec. Coverage in Italy, the UK, The Huffington Post USA, DC's Cato Institute, Fox News and CNN!
The OQLF backed down in the face of Anglo AND Franco media outrage. They say the inspector was "over-zealous." A small win for Quebecers who believe in tolerance and sanity.
photo: Massimo Lecas / Instagram