Thanks for the response, I'm going to take issue with a few things but before I do that I'd like to acknowledge that I am not specifically pulling out your posts for any other reason than I find them interesting. Pam's prosaic claims that Michelin is about who you know isn't very interesting as an example.
I can't quite see (yet) the heart of your argument, it seems to be a few vague allusions around the edges, but what is the guts of it all.
Fair enough, I'll restate what I've already claimed upthread, but with a few details. Outside, and unlike, France, Michelin has given up on being an arbiter of taste and now merely follows the pack (although shuffling it a tad in order to remain enigmatic). For me the seminal example is the Fat Duck, although MPW set the scene. MPW was the first Brit who was perceived to be a chef in the stereotypical mould favoured by Michelin. His cooking was never on a par with Koffman, Mosimann or the Rouxs, but who cares? Like Frank Bruno, Britishness trumped talent.
I could come to this point more easily except I know from a direct, personal standpoint, that Koffman could not disagree with you more on MPW. Mosimann doesn't belong in this conversation.
With the advent of the internet, the most recent Anglophone colony, and a first generation of adult users, what counted was 'buzz'. When Heston took up Adriá's postmodernism, it was Heston who got most of the attention for the simple fact that Heston as cooking in English. Sure, hardcore foodies know that HB's debt to el Bulli is huge, but again, compared to Heston's self-effacing British laddishness, Adriá is a rather gauche wog. By elevating the FD to 3* status Michelin also elevated a purported British gastronomic ingenuity to a similar status in the English speaking world. Seemingly no one in the UK didn't want to hitch their cart to this renaissance and peripheral participants suddenly had the chance to take centre stage. Prior to HB, the term British food critic was an oxymoron, but said individuals have worked hard to consolidate their position on a global stage and entities such as Jay Rayner distribute gastronomic pomposity throughout the English speaking world in exchange for coin.
ok, that's your conclusion, your assertion, but its a fairly loosely supported one. the association of Heston and Adria seems to be one of Molecular approach, rather than any specific influence or technical commonality. Michelin's job is to be relevant in its markets where it produces guides, so there is an element of Britishness at play I suspect. I do not see any evidence within or outside your argument however, that would support Heston as some of divining rod of a new british food renaissance. any more than MPW or GR in recent times.
I can't begin to understand the comment about critics, that's a plain nonsense.
My contention, is that Michelin was a late arrival to this back-slapping party, but was astute enough to realise that the UK no longer wished to be dictated to by the French, irrespective as to whether the French had a valid claim to superior gastronomic knowledge. What follows is a clever, but cynical, recycling of an inbred and deluded nation's opinion of its culinary importance. After all, is Michelin really in the business of educating palates, or are they more interested in sales?
I can't even quite work out what the contention actually is, confused within its own tautologies. I think its true that Michelin is keen to make sure it remains relevant, and that there are some commericial considerations but this is hardly a new thing and there is no new paradigm that I can see any basis or evidence for. if Nico and Marco weren't handing back their stars, I don't think Gordon gets his third, but that's the cynic in me - I can't prove this. I just cannot however, see any basis for suggesting there has been a step change with HB.
One might wish to argue that the FD has grown into its global reputation, I wouldn't. Cranking out thousands of tasting menus a week, no matter how many chemicals one uses and how complex the recipes, smacks of making hay. Of course, I'd do the same in such a fickle market. However, there was no way that when the FD got 3• it deserved them on any scale. Michelin merely confirmed that Bray was a sort of culinary Carnaby St.
hold on, I think it might be possible to argue with more time and inclination that the FD benefited from the new molecular movement, and its ascendency within that - just as all movements have their leaders and beneficiaries. But that is no different to Nouvelle Cuisine, and we have more classical 3* and very heavily influenced nouvelle 3*'s today. I'm particularly not minded towards the classic, as it seems tired and out of touch today, but that's just my view.
I am not sure I can take that view and then insist people who do favour such approaches are blinded by an anachronistic allegiance to historical hegemony.
if we ascribe MG as a valid culinary movement, as I feel we must, then FD is just a restaurant at its vanguard neither its finest, nor an imposter.
Personally, I think the FD has evolved enormously, but not on the plate. service, theatre, precision and timing are all of a level far, far greater than the back slapping good old days, of being able to have prix fixes lunches. the experience is a complete one, but its lack of modal variation leaves it a bit cold for me. change the bloody record for heaven's sake Heston.
I also think its just plain wrong to suggest a meal here is not considerably more refined today than 10 years ago, it is also imo, not as much fun. It is for me, by any definition worthy of 3*'s and is far from the fringe of that designation.
This is certainly in accordance with how Michelin would like you to see them.
that is certainly platitudinous
Michelin will never be completely right for anyone. What matters is the degree to which Michelin diverges. When this divergence is patently due to the ability of PRs to unduly influence the media, then, I argue, it does matter.
I think if anything, over the last 5 years or so, the media has followed michelin not vice versa. this is why ordinary, non foodie folk even know what a michelin star is these days. that and social media.
I cannot accept an argument that purports to align the media/PR and Michelin on one side, and popular opinion on the other. should this divergence exist anywhere other than the imagination, then Michelin would have died off long ago.
you cannot be an arbiter of taste and style without having your own sensibilities accepted and acknowledged as providing worth.
This is an empirical claim, and as such easy to point out that it is simply not true. PR employees register multiple Twitter accounts and harp on endlessly about the wonders of their clients. Indeed, a certain chef has been the benifiaciary of thousands of tweets affirming his, not obvious, sexual-attractiveness all paid for by the supermarket for which he works. This is because being sexy sells more food, and if your neighbour fancies X then you'll probably fancy him too.
I can believe the claim, but that is not the point. what matters is the extent to which this can be shown to have had influence. it can all be true (and perhaps it is) but unless that can then be extended to show the impact that this has had on someone's ratings then its just gossip and trivia. for example, I cannot imagine Michel Roux getting his third back any time soon, and with the amount of publicity he has had recently, then under your regime he should already have it.
I really do think there is an interesting, and potential valid view point in here, but its all too full of circular arguments and tin foil hats.
A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?