In the latest episode of Fox Nation's "After the Show Show," the "Fox & Friends" hosts took viewers behind the scenes as they shared their favorite Panera Bread picks after the franchise made headlines when it fired an employee for "exposing" a secret about one popular dish.
"My kids love their mac and cheese...it is delicious," said host and Fox meteorologist Janice Dean.
Host Jillian Mele said the "grilled cheese and tomato soup" is her go-to from the chain restaurant, but Steve Doocy prefers the "bread bowl with cheddar," he explained.
The restaurant recently made headlines after a woman took to social media videoing an employee as they dropped a plastic packet of frozen mac and cheese into a boiler, cut the bag open and poured its contents into a bowl.
The video, originally posted last week on the social media app TikTok, was captioned "exposing Panera,” sparking a mixed response.
Some commenters slammed the chain restaurant for selling frozen food instead of mac and cheese that is actually cooked in the kitchen.
“Someone said Panera is just hospital food and this proves it,” one person commented.
Some online users said they weren’t surprised in the least by Panera Bread’s apparent food preparation.
“I don’t get what she’s exposing? Did people really think there was a chef hanging out in the kitchen of Panera Bread making their Mac and Cheese?” one user tweeted. “This is literally how every fast food joint operates, don’t be fooled.”
Dean agreed with the comment, observing that there are often only two employees behind the counter at a time.
"Have you ever gone back there," she said, "there's like two workers basically and they have your food done in like two seconds," she said.
The hosts reiterated their lack of surprise about the frozen dish, and questioned the "overdramatic response."
"It's called fast food for a reason...you get it fast...what's the difference if it comes out of a bag, or a box," asked Mele.
"People just don't want to see where their food comes from," explained host Steve Doocy.
"Oh get over yourselves, people," Dean responded, explaining her family's fondness for the dish.
A spokesperson for Panera Bread confirmed the video’s authenticity but declined to comment further on personnel matters, according to The Washington Post. The company defended its preparation of the mac and cheese, the Post reports, which it said is a patently Panera product “made offsite with our proprietary recipe developed by our chefs.”
“It is shipped frozen to our bakery-cafes — this allows us to avoid using preservatives, which do not meet our clean standards,” a statement said.
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