By Mike Pomranz
Updated February 05, 2016
Credit: © Michael Buckner/Getty Images for CB2

April Fools’ Day is still nearly two months away, but apparently oft-praised Los Angeles chef Neal Fraser and fast food giant McDonald’s didn’t get the memo. Or maybe they figured editing footage from their recent stunt for YouTube would require plenty of post-production time to be ready by April 1. Either way, on Tuesday night about 40 food influencers were treated to a five-course “culinary exploration,” one wrinkle though: Fraser secretly sourced nearly all the ingredients from McDonald’s. Needless to say, everyone seems to be shocked: even food writers who weren’t in attendance.

As Eater points out, Fraser doesn’t really have a history of working for brands and the fact that Fraser would get involved in such a ploy seemed to surprise even him. He told the OC Register when McDonald’s initially approached him, he turned them down. However, after agreeing on an undisclosed fee, the chef eventually got on board, albeit a bit apprehensively. “I just hope no one hits me,” he said before the meal began.

As for the meal itself, guest were informed it would end with a twist, and apparently at least a few people could sense the imposing presence of Ronald McDonald. Someone supposedly shouted “Golden Arches” before the big reveal. That said, anecdotally, it appears much of the food – like meatballs made from Quarter Pounder beef and topped with McMuffin bread crumbs – went down without incident and the burger brand – who also secretly filmed the entire proceedings and kept careful track of it on social media – got the soundbites and Instagram hype it was hoping for.

The rest of us will get a chance to see how things went down in a video McDonald’s plans to post of the event later this month. Though just how honestly that video will depict the occasion is unknown. After this stunt, you can’t really blame anyone for being skeptical.

If you want to try some of Fraser’s less fast food heavy recipes you can find them over here.