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Is the French Michelin Guide Losing Credibility?

Is the French Michelin Guide Losing Credibility?

Apr 22nd, 2007, 07:52 AM
  #1  
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Is the French Michelin Guide Losing Credibility?

For those who follow Michelin stars and such, here is an interesting opinion re. the Michelin guide losing touch with reality.

http://tinyurl.com/36gl3r
robjame is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:00 AM
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I never pay any attention to those rave reviews or to the opposite until I see more than two pieces of evidence.

Has the Michelin Guide lost credibility?
I don't know. I never put much stock in it to begin with.

bob_brown is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:04 AM
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Most of the French stopped paying attention to it about 20 years ago. But it is still a good marketing gimmick for tourists.
kerouac is online now  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:17 AM
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The article talks about the Guide Michelin as if restaurants were rated only by their stars. But Michelin has been aware of changes in tastes and habits and has the Bib Gourmand designation for relatively inexpensive restaurants that do not deserve stars but are in its view acceptable.

As for La Tour d'Argent--I once, around 1968, had a neighbor who pulled a one upsmanship game by stating that la Tour d'Argent was not what it used to be, thereby indicating that he had eaten there at least twice to be able to make that judgment; he was, BTW, a fantastic cook in the haute cuisine style (galantines with gelée, etc.).
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:46 AM
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I was interested when I read Sanders book, "From Here You Can't See Paris", that the chef of the restaurant felt he would have to compromise his principles should he go after a star. It was a brand new angle to me.
Would any chef today, commit suicide over losing a star?
Re Tour d"Argent - the most disappointed we have been in our dining in France. Admittedly it is a small sample but we were not going in with any negative expectations.
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:47 AM
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I've found the Michelin Guide to be more reliable than articles in travel/food magazines. Gault Millau is better (IMO), but there must be 20 times more listings in the Michelin Guide than in Gault Millau.

Michael - do you generally agree with the ratings Michelin gave to San Francisco Bay Area restaurants??

Stu Dudley
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 09:00 AM
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Stu,

Michelin generally has it right, but there are serious omissons, some errors, and it tends to be Euro-centric. We were very disappointed in the Farmhouse Inn which was given one star. It is noteworthy that SF restaurants are allowed to advertise that they are in the Michelin, a no-no in France. Perhaps we should not compare the reliability of Michelin in France vs. abroad.

Michael is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 09:16 AM
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Stu - Whatever happened to the much heralded English 2007 France Michelin Red Guide?
My order with Amazon for the hard-covered copy is still unfilled with no firm projected date. I have no reason to believe that the soft covered publication this month will fare any better.

I do think that these guides suffer from not being easily readable (reader friendly). They take some getting used to and that doesn't sit well with someone browsing through the stock at Borders.
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 09:19 AM
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Two weeks before we departed for Beaujolais & Burgundy last year, we dined at La Folie in SF (Michelin 1 star, Chroicle 4 star - their top rating). We had not dined there in several years - it had always been one of our favorites. We dined at five 1 stars in Burgundy/Beaujolais and every one was much better than La Folie in terms of creativity & taste. There were several no-stars that we enjoyed more than La Folie. We dined at Range for the second time 2 weeks ago (a 1 star in SF), and I think about 80% of the 20 restaurants we visited in Burgundy/Beaujolais were better. Bushi Tei (1 star in SF) was comparible to some of the 1 stars in France. My Magret de Canard at Quince (1 star in SF) was overcooked & had a very bland sauce.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 09:23 AM
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La Folie is much better than the Farmhouse Inn. I do agree, one star restaurants in France are better than one star restaurants in the States. That is why I do not compare the Michelin star system in France with its American star system. One relative who has eaten at Paul Bocuse and several times at French Laundry says that there is no comparison.
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 09:46 AM
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Would any chef today, commit suicide over losing a star?

Bernard Loiseau did in 2003. Of course losing a star was not the only reason.
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 10:00 AM
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Pvoya - Exactly my point! There is more support to the importance of Stu's Gault Millau. Despite the myth, Loiseau's suicide was probably due to GM's downgrade. Michelin never did, nor had they any plans to, remove one of Cote D'Or's three stars. However it has made a good story and is still widely believed.
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 02:19 PM
  #13  
ira
 
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>"Michelin consecrates the places where the rich and powerful dine on expense accounts. It's cut off from normal life...<

Of course it is. How many people would eat at 3* places every day, even if they could afford to?

>..and real gastronomy."<

I don't agree.



ira is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 04:17 PM
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I think they must be having trouble with the publication of the English version of the Michelin Guide. Current availability date from Amazon is mid-May. We leave June 1, so I hope it arrives before then.

Stu Dudley
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 10:46 PM
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What's the point of an English-language Michelin?

Surely name, address, stars, specialities and a red pig in a rocking chair don't need translating?
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 01:18 AM
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Another vote for Gault Millau - have never been disappointed...

-Kevin
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 02:16 AM
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Don't know about the English Michelin in North America, but it's supposedly out in France, and in stock at FNAC in Paris. The only reason for having one in English is that for the last few years there have been short reviews as well as symbols, which a non-French speaker obviously wont understand.

I don't know that Loiseau's suicide was directly linked to his rating. The restaurant did not in fact lose its star - and still hasn't. He was apparently very 'sensitive.' The pressure of trying to maintain his 3-star standard obviously didn't help, especially since he intended to make very costly additions to the restaurant. There was a very interesting program after his death, about his wife keeping the place going. As she said, no three star chef spends all his time in the restaurant now anyway - most of them are off marketing the restaurant or its products. So in the case of Loiseau's restaurant the chef who had been with him for 15 or 20 years, who was running the kitchen is still there, the maitre d'hotel is still there, etc. And she took over the marketing, travelling around the world.

The other interesting point in the program was the impact on the whole region if the restaurant loses its status. Obviously other shops and hotels in the area benefit from people coming to a 3-star establishment. But also people supplying the restaurant with home made cheese, home cured ham, etc. also are able to sell lots more if they are known as 'supplier to...'
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 02:49 AM
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About a week ago NYtimes ran an article on cumulative advantage, in which it was pointed out that despite our insistence that we make buying decisions independent of other buyers, research shows otherwise. We are social beings, we do care what others think about something, and besides, we want a common experience to share with others. (Come to think of it, I believe that is why we are all 'here' on this board....)

However, the article also cited research showing that this mutual dependence has unintended consequences, which is that marketing follows a kind of chaos theory. As a result, pundits, no matter how expert, often fail to make accurate predictions about the success of something. We all know of successful restaurants, books, and movies that the experts failed to predict would succeed. Similarly, there are places that the experts claimed would succeed, and didn't.

Anyway, short answer is, it seems that while the Michelin guides may or may not have credibility, neither they nor any other guide necessarily has any value in predicting an establishment's future success. Which is an important point: if a three-starred restaurant in a forest has a star chopped down by Michelin, and nobody hears of the event, does it make a sound?
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Apr 23rd, 2007, 03:11 AM
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ira
 
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>...pundits, no matter how expert, often fail to make accurate predictions about the success of something. <

This is true in any field of endeavor.

ira is offline  
Apr 23rd, 2007, 03:30 AM
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"this is true in any field of endeavour..."

...particularly the stock market.
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