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Is the French Michelin Guide Losing Credibility?

Is the French Michelin Guide Losing Credibility?

Apr 23rd, 2007, 09:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 4,725
Carlux - Thanks for a reminder of how these things affect more than just the people who are deciding on where to eat dinner that night. Sometimes a whole village can depend upon the success of a local enterprise.
Good news about the English Red Guide. Will check Chapters in a few days when we get home.
robjame is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 02:33 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Yes, the Guide Michelin IS conservative and it IS geared to French taste.

But does "conservative" necessarily mean "outdated"?

According to my experience, a star is an extremely reliable indicator that cuisine, service and ambiance meet the highest expectations.

And the Bib Gourmand (BTW, the Guide has this category for at least 30 years, however not always under this name)is a very clear signal to receive a gourmet meals of a reasonable price.

In my experience, the cuisine in 3-star-restaurants is not always better than in 1-star-restaurants, but for sure, the ambiance in 3-star-restaurants is very posh.

A chef of a 3-star-restaurant told me, if he has a table with, say, four elderly ladies and a dish is just ready to serve and one of the ladies decides to go the restroom, then the restaurant throws all the dishes in the garbage and prepares them fresh when the lady has returned. Such things are expected for 3 stars and make them that expensive.

(Another chef who had worked in a 3-star-restaurant told me this: Even for gourmet chefs, a foie gras souffle is a difficult affair. They never know exactly how it turns out inside. So they alway bake two souffles, serve the better one to the guest and put the other one into the bin. Another reason for the price.)

Of course, I use other guides, too. And compare. And decide. Reading the reviews before booking a table is part of the fun.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2007, 06:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,154
Good point, Trav.

And not only at 3* places.

The New Yorker did an article on Molto Mario and had this anecdote:

Waiter brings back a steak from Table x. All the cooks dissect it. No problem.

Molto says, "give them another steak".

Waiter brings back a different steak.
All the cooks dissect it. No problem.

Molto gets peeved, but gives them another steak.

Waiter brings back a different steak.
All the cooks dissect it. No problem.

Molto is angry. "What are they drinking?", says he.

Chateau XXX at $1100 a bottle. They are on their third bottle.

"Give them all the steaks they want".

ira is online now  
Apr 24th, 2007, 02:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,080
In the good old days when we just used to hop in the car and drive.. without reservations.... I found Michelin invaluable in seeking out hotels and restaurants in small towns. We've never been interested in the Great Dining Experince so never paid much attention to the top ratings. I should think Michelin would still be valuable for people who travel as we used to... unless there are so many travelers now one cannot just "hop in the car" and head off into the country.
Grandma is offline  
Apr 25th, 2007, 01:12 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 6,047
Grandma makes a good point.

The Guide Michelin was designed for motorists who are seeking accomodation and food.

The best thing in the Guide Michelin are the maps. When I am planning an itinerary, I am looking at these maps to find places to stay. And when I am staying in a remote region, say in the north of Brittany, and looking for a fine dining experience I look at one of those maps to find the nearest restaurant with a bib gourmand or a star. That is the reason for the stars.

And I must say: I was never in my life disappointed by a restaurant with a bib gourmand or with star - nowhere on earth.

Other guides may have more detailed information, and they may give young chefs better chances, but the Red Guide is primarily reliable - that is the reason why a restaurant must perform with excellence for years before it gets a star.
traveller1959 is offline  

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