How Much Butter French Restaurant Diners Eat, According To Anthony Bourdain

If you've ever sat and people-watched at a cafe or bakery in France, you know the French love their butter. However, you may be shocked to hear the actual amount of butter consumed by diners in French restaurants.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, the late Anthony Bourdain explained how much butter truly goes into your favorite French dishes. He told Winfrey, "It's usually the first thing and the last thing in just about every pan," and that adds up. By the end of your meal in a French restaurant, Bourdain estimated that you would probably have consumed "a stick-plus" of butter. The audience seemed shocked by this assertion, but Bourdain would know — he spent his life cooking and learning in kitchens around the world. Bourdain joked that he hopes he hasn't scared anyone off with this revelation, but French cuisine is too delectable to pass up, regardless of its butter content.

What's so good about French butter?

So what's with all of the butter, and why is French butter so sought after? In the same interview, Bourdain told Winfrey that butter is a "chef secret," stating, "It mellows sauces, it gives it that restaurant sheen and the emulsified consistency that we love, and it's classic." Oprah quickly added how delicious butter is, and even if you don't know much about the more technical reasons behind the usage of butter that Bourdain discussed, we can all agree butter makes things taste better.

French restaurants likely use French butter, well-known for being one of, if not the best. French butter differs from American butter in that the butterfat content is higher. While American butters are more solid, French butters are softer and melt faster. Additionally, the production process for American butter is very different from European butters. French butters are cultured and also subject to strict manufacturing regulations under French law that ensure that every bit of butter produced is of the highest quality.