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Michelin Guide, Great Britain & Ireland 2013

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#61 marcusjames

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 02:34 PM

I personally think you need to seperate experience from cooking here. I went to the Hand & Flowers recently and don't think it compares to any other 2 star restaurants (note use of word restaurant) I've visited in the UK. However, not to contradict myself, but I can understand why Michelin promoted it despite the lack of liveried staff and usual trappings. Just from a cooking point of view, the ingredients were impeccable and the execution exemplary. OK, it is re-invented pub classics mixed in with more inventive fare, but whatever the dish, the presentation was imaginative and the food hard to find fault with overall . A red wine jus that accompanied my best end of lamb in farce and sweetebreads wrapped in caul crepinette and pastry to create a form of Wellington, was as good as any I've had in the best 3 star; crystal clear and reduced to a depth of flavour that came within an inch of its syrupy life (I can only assume that was Tom's Adlard's heritage shining through; David Adlard was renowned in the industry for his saucing). And to give H&F further credit, the pricing isn't comparable to any other 2 star, it's much, much cheaper.

Lest we forget, the Fat Duck was once a pub. The catering industry was astound when Heston nobbled the 3rd, not because of the cooking, but the venue. Until that point venues were considered everything. It's no secret Ramsey only bought RHR because it was once Tante Claire and Michelin couldn't deny him the 3rd as a result.

I'm not a fan of Michelin. I do find them inconsistent in a world where the one thing they live and die by is consistency. But fair dues, they've really made efforts to move forward and embrace the British scene in recent years. Perhaps their innovation isn't enough though. Maybe, just maybe, they should consider some form of their own Zagat system that separates cooking from service, venue and experience. OK, they have a venue guide in the form of the knife and forks, but still... The advent of the restaurant in gastropub clothing is, I suspect, one that isn't going to go away and will need further consideration. Whilst the French have grown-up with fine dining, grandeur, white linen table cloths and (potential) over-staffing the British have always had their pubs and it's where, ulitmately, they're most comfortable. Put short, there's a cultural gulf and, in an ironic way, the more Michelin attempt to move forward the more exposed it becomes.

Edited by marcusjames, 03 October 2012 - 02:48 PM.


#62 Gary Marshall

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Posted 04 October 2012 - 02:02 AM


For approximatley the one millionth time :wink: , if anyone actually read the michelin guide criteria, (which is on the web site and in the releases) it all becomes if not blindingly clear, certainly the logic is apparent.

Restaurants are rated in their category, as are pubs, they are not saying Hand & Flowers is as good as Le Manoir for example, but that it is a very good pub. think of it along those lines and it makes sense.

Whilst a star is a fantastic boost for pubs (and they remain mainly my favoured dining environment, and indeed, i owned one) it does also bring the cross of 'you're not worthy of a star, no amuse, table cloths sommellier etc'. For a proper restaurant it allows you to charge the proper rate, without a star you get 'how can you charge so much? You don't have a star'.


That's not quite right Gary. The criteria for a 1* restaurant is "Very Good Cooking in its Category" but the "in its Category" qualifier is dropped from the 2* and 3* criteria ("Excellent cooking, worth a detour" and "Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey" respectively).

My understanding has always been that 1* hopefuls are judged against other establishments of their category (whether that is pub, dim sum or posh French) but that the 2* and 3* categories are judged against some objective level of quality regardless of category. This limits the ability of pubs to climb beyond 1*.

Hand and Flowers does seem a bit of an anomaly on that rationale (much and all as I liked it, The Sportsman would seem more deserving) but no more egregious than lots of other anomalies we could point to (the UK&I 3* list is in particulalry dire need of pruning - Ducasse/Ramsay/Waterside Inn...)


The categories remain things like small hotel, big hotel, red to donate extra luxury etc, so the hand and flowers is still rated as a pub, not a restaurant but the cooking is merited 'worth a detour' .

Don't forget at the end of the day its roots are as a guide for drivers of these new fangled automobiles in unfamilar areas, pre -internet and food critics (probably) so the key still works. Turn up at le manoir on spec and lo and behold it's a luxury restaurant with luxury rooms with good food, the H&F is a pub with better than most food etc.

Does anyone put the same thought into the GFG or AA scoring methodology? I'm sure you'll find they are equally as idiosyncratic, but it just amuses me the arguments that are started all over the internet whether it be '50 best' or michelin when hardly anyone bothers to read the criteria before questioning the judgement.

For what its worth I think the value of Michelin is at the 1* and below level in an unfamilar place where it can guide you to the one decent place in a street full of tourist places.

Above 1* most are so well known they're not hard to find if you're looking for that sort of experience rather than, 'i'm in a small town in france which is the best of these places'. the 1 & 2 knives and forks are especially useful i think, which people rarely talk about.
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#63 Gary Marshall

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 03:34 AM

AA Gill on michelin

http://www.vanityfai...-michelin-guide
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#64 Jon Tseng

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 08:45 AM

AA Gill on michelin

http://www.vanityfai...-michelin-guide

What? Someone complaining the michelin guide is elitist, out of touch, and outdated?

I am gobsmacked by Mr Gills originality and insight. Really and honestly. Wow. Where can I pay to read his purple prose?? ;-)

Enjoy the weeked! lol.
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#65 MaLO

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:49 AM

http://www.elizabeth...A.A._Gill?.html

Read this today
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#66 Putty Man

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 10:51 AM

The trope, used by Gill and many other Anglophone commentators, that at some point in the past starred establishments were 'cold', 'hushed' and 'religious' is simply not true. Alain Chapel, the Ostau de Baumaniere, Michel Guerard, Troisgras, The Waterside Inn, Le Gavroche are/were all extremely comfortable and indulgent affairs and anything but the former. These comments, and the fact that they ring true to so many, say more about those that hold such opinions than they do about the type of restaurant that they seek to impute.

For decades, the British have had a massive insecurity complex about any form of eating out. In places like the ones cited above, the feeling of intimidation stems from an inability to enjoy what's on offer. But to conflate these remarkable restaurants with the horrendous hotel dining rooms of the 60s and 70s, which were indeed often 'cold', 'hushed' and 'religious', is just a public profession of ignorance.

Sadly little has changed in our psyche, we still feel very unsure of ourselves and our choices of restaurant are based more than the pathological avoidance of faux pas than any kind of culinary enthusiasm. In order to hedge our investment and maximise social capital we tend to choose the 'it' place over the subtle place. Diners are grateful to have 'scored a table' and the fact we are already participating in a desirable activity almost destroys our critical faculties before we've even set foot in the restaurant. Indeed, since we dine for instrumental purposes, we are careful to protect our investments and when, several hundred pounds the poorer, we roll out of Dabbous/Noma/Fat Duck etc. we make sure to say that it was the best, most mind-blowing meal we ever had. The meal is not for eating, but for showing off like Louboutin shoes or Cath Kidston clad children.

Which all means that in the UK and USA 'fine-dining' is not diner-led; i.e. directed by a knowledgable clientele, but rather PR-led in which marketeers prey upon our insecurities and ignorance. One gets the guidebooks one deserves, and our current examples merely respond to the market's clamour for manuals of etiquette that serve to shore up the social currency of the neurotically class conscious.

Edited by Putty Man, 05 October 2012 - 10:56 AM.


#67 Putty Man

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Posted 05 October 2012 - 01:48 PM

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.

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.

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?

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.


I think michelin is about assessment, judgement & categorisation - not sourcing. I don't personally see the value in using one sourcing methodology vs another. I don't care how you came across or came to know about a restaurant, i care about the quality of the assessment.

Which is where i find myself a bit lost on the novelty act lacking in technique thing, am not sure who you would cite?


This is certainly in accordance with how Michelin would like you to see them.


I can and do disagree with michelin's assessment, can't say i've ever cared about how somewhere came to their attention.


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.

All social media means is that PR's job gets harder to add value in the traditional ways. They are who used to tell michelin about what's hot.


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.

#68 Man

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 12:49 AM

AA Gill on michelin

http://www.vanityfai...-michelin-guide


I'm beginning to like Michelin. If Gill hates them so much, they must be doing something right.

#69 marcusjames

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 04:07 AM

Putty Man - the cooking at the Fat Duck isn't 3 star standard? Really? Whatever your views on molecular gastronomy, degustation menus or Michelin I don't think there's any doubt it's worthy of its rank.

And from what I understand I think the influence on his cooking owes more to the work of Herve This than Ferran Adria, but I guess only he could really answer that.

#70 Putty Man

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 04:58 AM

Putty Man - the cooking at the Fat Duck isn't 3 star standard? Really? Whatever your views on molecular gastronomy, degustation menus or Michelin I don't think there's any doubt it's worthy of its rank.


This depends on whether one believes that rank is an expression of ability or whether the rank itself confers qualities upon its holder. An extreme example would be Usain Bolt. There seems to be no doubt that he is currently the fastest human on the planet and thus his rank is entirely indicative of ability. At the other end of the spectrum we the Queen. She didn't actually do anything to earn her rank, yet the fact that she is the Queen confers upon her a significant status.

I would argue that when the FD got its third star, it wasn't a 3* restaurant in any meaningful sense. However, given that most of us rely on guides to undertake the job of ranking on our behalf, the fact that the FD became a 3* restaurant meant that it was a 3* restaurant.

#71 marcusjames

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 01:44 PM

Have you ever actually eaten there? I know the food splits opinion, pushes boundries and - for many - isn't the most enjoyable meal they'll ever eat; I couldn't get my sister back there if I paid her. However, the quality of ingredients, research and execution is, I think, beyond doubt.

Every one is entitled to their opinion, but to say the FD isn't, or wasn't, a 3 star at the time of elevation is incredulous.

#72 Andrew

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:25 AM

Every one is entitled to their opinion, but to say the FD isn't, or wasn't, a 3 star at the time of elevation is incredulous.


Couldn't agree more. The star rating doesn't necessarlly mean you will like it, will order something you enjoy (ok this doesn't apply to the FD only set menu) etc but is a way of guiding readers to standards. The FD has excellent quality ingredients cooked to the highest of standards. You might not like the theatre, some of the combinations etc but it certainly merits a top ranking.

There was some suprise when it was elevated from 2 to 3 stars. From my point of view that was not to do with the quality but more shock that Michelin was willing to give 3 stars to something so 'different'.

Andrew

Edited by Andrew, 07 October 2012 - 02:26 AM.


#73 Putty Man

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 02:53 AM


I know the food splits opinion, pushes boundries and - for many - isn't the most enjoyable meal they'll ever eat; I couldn't get my sister back there if I paid her.


The star rating doesn't necessarlly mean you will like it, will order something you enjoy (ok this doesn't apply to the FD only set menu) etc but is a way of guiding readers to standards. The FD has excellent quality ingredients cooked to the highest of standards. You might not like the theatre, some of the combinations etc but it certainly merits a top ranking.


This is what I meant about protecting one's investment. Unfortunately, to a sceptic like me, it all sounds rather deluded.

#74 marcusjames

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 03:06 AM

So, to clarify, you have actually been to the FD?

#75 Putty Man

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 03:40 AM

So, to clarify, you have actually been to the FD?


Yes, I have. On several occasions when it was rather charming brasserie and once as 2*. This latter visit was great, interesting food, well cooked with many of the well-documented surprises and tricks. However, it was amateurish, sometimes inconsistent, slightly arrogant and self-important and certainly not world class by a country mile -- in fact, not even comparable to 2* in France.

Anyway, before this thread goes completely off-topic, I'd like to restate my argument that Michelin's elevation of the FD was strategic rather than based on merit; that it was a reaction to the the 50 best list and the power of buzz in nations with weak culinary traditions, and that subsequent Michelin operations in the UK and US have tended to follow this reactive methodology, which, in gastronomic terms tends to make the guide of diminishing worth the further it strays from its French roots.

#76 Robert45

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Posted 07 October 2012 - 12:41 PM

There does seem to be two lines of thought with regards to Michelin, one being they only rate the 'best of the best' and the other being, they are very politically motivated, underhand, out of touch and generally far too full of their own (worthless) importantance. I certainly favour the latter where the UK guide is concerned.
What really does it offer these days other than a hotch potch level of standards, that are so confusing to many and I'd image very unjust to establishments that are not constantly over hyped or are pr, media driven.
Some very interesting stories starting to unfold over in New York with the rapid two star award given to Atera. Reading between the lines it is being suggested that the guide would have had no way to rate this place in such a short time frame. Apparently the establishment is harder to reserve a table than a place would have been at the last supper. So with michelin only booking under false names, having to visit multipul times, which they state is required to award two stars, one does start wonder what really is going on?
Politically motivated..........

#77 Simon_S

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 02:54 AM

Putty Man, I like a lot of your arguments here, and I think many them ring true. That said, I'm not sure that Michelin's inconsistency in the UK and Ireland guide is all about elevation of the unworthy. Especially at the 1-star level, I've eaten quite a few meals at restaurants in France that I am *convinced* would not receive a star in Ireland if you transplanted them in their entirety. Of course, Ireland doesn't have a culinary tradition, nor does it have any kind of buzz that would register with Michelin at all, and historically it seemed that Michelin were barely conscious of top-drawer cooking in Ireland. For a long time I believed that it was much harder to get a star in Ireland than in France, and certainly much harder than in NY. The recent elevations here possibly hint at a shift in this policy, but actually they just make things more confusing IMO. We'll see how it plays out.

I can't comment widely about the UK aside from noting that my rare meals in Michelin-starred "buzz" restaurants have been disappointing.

#78 Scott

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 09:04 AM


robert45, I would recommend you try the The Hand and Flowers in Marlow - neither underwhelming nor overpriced. Might change your mind about starred pubs.

I have indeed visited the above, earlier in the year whilst on business. To be perfectly honest I found it not only very underwhelming but disappointing, in as much as it having two stars attached to it. Why?? I found the whole experience very average to be honest. I could not understand why such an establishment would be awarded like it has. Almost random. The two star rating was to me completely unjustified and more importantly totally unnecessary. I did actually contact the guide to convey my thoughts because I did think in this case it was just ridiculous on the guides part. Im sure it would be a great pub if it didn't have all the guff of two stars. By the way, one of our party had to send back his beef dish that night, as it was overcooked. I had not ever encountered this in a two star establishment prior.


I think this is part of the problem.

conflating your opinion of the establishment, with how it is rated by michelin. it is, what it is, not a michelin pub. as in it is as good as it is, in a broad absolute. Within that construct, Michelin have passed an opinion on how they regard it. (sorry if that's a bit circular).

there is no cozy relationship between Kerridge and Michelin per se.

as for the judgement on the food at the Hand and Flowers, my own experience could not be more different. the quality of cooking, precision, timing of the dishes was first class on a recent visit. surprisingly delicate, with very good ingredient quality.

I am also interested in what you mean by beef dish being sent back because its been overcooked? if its steak not cooked to your liking then sure, if its Tartare I can see the problem ;) but otherwise, its more than likely a daube, braise or similar. that isn't coming medium rare. The only reason I mention this is the description as a beef dish, and not a steak - also kerridge is known for his slow cooking of cheeks and less common cuts. and if your steak has not been prepared to your specification, sending it back is only fair. not sure, I would qualify that as evidence of a restaurants broader technical failings though.

again, appreciate that might seem pedantic.
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#79 Scott

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 09:09 AM

And it raises the interesting question as to at what point does a pub stop being a pub and becomes a restaurant?


is it? personally, I am not sure how the question leads to any useful distinction?
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#80 Harters

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 09:48 AM

is it?


Sorry - not sure I understand your question. Is it what?

Do you mean is it an interesting question? Well, yes, generally speaking it is to me - I wouldnt have made the point otherwise.

In the context of this discussion, the "useful distinction" is relevent to Michelin awarding its one-stars to categories, as Gary points out. If a pub is awarded a star and then later morphs into being a restaurant, you might well expect it to lose its star as it's no longer in the same category - even though nothing else changes. The fact that this doesnt seem to happen suggests that, in practice, Michelin's talk of its "categories" is just bollocks.
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#81 Scott

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 09:55 AM

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 :raz:

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?

#82 Scott

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 09:58 AM


is it?


Sorry - not sure I understand your question. Is it what?

Do you mean is it an interesting question? Well, yes, generally speaking it is to me - I wouldnt have made the point otherwise.

In the context of this discussion, the "useful distinction" is relevent to Michelin awarding its one-stars to categories, as Gary points out. If a pub is awarded a star and then later morphs into being a restaurant, you might well expect it to lose its star as it's no longer in the same category - even though nothing else changes. The fact that this doesnt seem to happen suggests that, in practice, Michelin's talk of its "categories" is just bollocks.


what I mean is that is not an interesting question at all. pointless.

there may be stylistic concessions to the type of food, but there should be none to the quality and execution. and Gary's point does not claim there is (vis a vis quality and execution).
A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

#83 Harters

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 10:24 AM

what I mean is that is not an interesting question at all. pointless.


Thanks for your observation.
John Hartley

#84 Putty Man

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 12:26 PM

Okay Scott, I've said my piece and since I'm not preparing a monograph on the subject I think I'm just going to have to leave it.

However, before I remove my tinfoil hat, I can't resist taking up this comment.

I'm particularly not minded towards the classic, as it seems tired and out of touch today, but that's just my view.


Are you suggesting that the qualities that made the classic once good no longer hold today? Or was it perhaps tired and out of touch when it was current? If the answer to either of these questions is, 'yes', I'd be fascinated to know on what basis something that was once good can be no longer good, unless, of course, you see dining in terms of social currency. Indeed, if this were the case this would probably account for our differing opinions.

Edited by Putty Man, 08 October 2012 - 12:27 PM.


#85 Harters

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 02:08 PM

I'd be fascinated to know on what basis something that was once good can be no longer good,


I'll leave Scott to answer for himself.

But I'll happily take the position that something once good is no longer good. These things are inherently subjective - they are very much "beauty being in the eye of the beholder". I can well remember food from when I first started eating out in the early 1970s that I would have thought good but wouldnt give the time of day to nowadays. I am of the generation and backgound that happily ate in Berni Inns - going there for celebrations. It was, in my experience then, "good food". Wouldnt think that now.

I understand that some folk might think there is a "gold standard" in food which sits there, unchanging, for all time. I would just have to disagree with them.
John Hartley

#86 Scott

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 02:40 AM

Okay Scott, I've said my piece and since I'm not preparing a monograph on the subject I think I'm just going to have to leave it.


no problem. My issue is that I don't think you have actually said anything. In fact it appears you have gone out of your way to avoid doing so.

Conspicuously.

Are you suggesting that the qualities that made the classic once good no longer hold today? Or was it perhaps tired and out of touch when it was current? If the answer to either of these questions is, 'yes', I'd be fascinated to know on what basis something that was once good can be no longer good, unless, of course, you see dining in terms of social currency. Indeed, if this were the case this would probably account for our differing opinions.


Gosh, I am not even sure you are serious?

aesthetic qualities are always a function of their time, and it would be true to say the highest value is ascribed to those qualities that endure, fine art being an easy example. However, just as shakespeare and puccini were considered mindless dross, pop of their time, it is not necessarily fixed in stone either.

Nor is it true that something cannot have ever been good if it has been superceded, if times have moved on or if the audience has changed taste or become more informed/sophisticated over an observed period.

The difference between the historical & the contemporary is often evolution.

If you would like to deny evolution I am sure there are no end of wonderful places to express that ;)
A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

#87 Gaston

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:29 PM

I have since moving to London last year been to the majority of the one stars, all the two stars and all the three stars. Most of the time I find Michelin's ratings totally mind boggling. One can take off a star from most places to convert to what they would have in France. Of the one stars that gained a star last year (not been to Hedone and Trishna) only Alyn Williams deserves a star and not by much compared to Michelin's standard in Paris for example. The star awards to St John Hotel and Medlar for instance are nothing short of a joke. Dabbous is a very lite and a not very good English version of Septime and Saturne, none of which have been considered worthy of a star in two respective three Michelin guides.

#88 Gary Marshall

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:37 PM

I have since moving to London last year been to the majority of the one stars, all the two stars and all the three stars. Most of the time I find Michelin's ratings totally mind boggling. One can take off a star from most places to convert to what they would have in France. Of the one stars that gained a star last year (not been to Hedone and Trishna) only Alyn Williams deserves a star and not by much compared to Michelin's standard in Paris for example. The star awards to St John Hotel and Medlar for instance are nothing short of a joke. Dabbous is a very lite and a not very good English version of Septime and Saturne, none of which have been considered worthy of a star in two respective three Michelin guides.


I think you'll find Hedone hits the spot, and the ratings are country specific, though at 2 and above european inspectors apparently have a say. Fair to say it is not a new issue.
you don't win friends with salad

#89 Broken English

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Posted 03 April 2013 - 09:29 PM


So, to clarify, you have actually been to the FD?

Yes, I have. On several occasions when it was rather charming brasserie and once as 2*. This latter visit was great, interesting food, well cooked with many of the well-documented surprises and tricks. However, it was amateurish, sometimes inconsistent, slightly arrogant and self-important and certainly not world class by a country mile -- in fact, not even comparable to 2* in France.

Anyway, before this thread goes completely off-topic, I'd like to restate my argument that Michelin's elevation of the FD was strategic rather than based on merit; that it was a reaction to the the 50 best list and the power of buzz in nations with weak culinary traditions, and that subsequent Michelin operations in the UK and US have tended to follow this reactive methodology, which, in gastronomic terms tends to make the guide of diminishing worth the further it strays from its French roots.


If they're following trends set by 50 best why are so many top 50 restaurants, Noma included, only 2 star? Noma's topped the list almost as many times as El Bulli, the fact it's only 2 star puzzles me. I can only imagine it has to do with the more informal setting, which goes directly against Michelin's claim that the stars are solely for the food.
James.

#90 Gary Marshall

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Posted 04 April 2013 - 12:47 AM

Haha, or maybe it's just not that good?


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