Q: Matters Michelin
Posted 19 August 2002 - 06:38 AM
I'd appreciate your thoughts on whether the possibility of continuing to receive Michelin ratings through extension of your work in Europe was a significant consideration arguing against establishing a restaurant outside of that area. If you are comfortable discussing it, in responding to the previous question, please include your thoughts on, among other things, (a) the personal significance you attribute to the prestige that affiliation with starred establishments confers, (b) the pressures that it might entail, ( c) the atmosphere in the kitchen when a person (if any) suspected to be a Michelin inspector was dining at any of the restaurants at which you worked, (d) your thoughts on whether ratings (Michelin or otherwise) are overly simplistic, and (e) the ratings (apart from Vancouver Magazine's annual listing) diners living in Vancouver emphasize.
Posted 25 August 2002 - 11:54 PM
(a) The personal significance you attribute to the prestige that affiliation with starred establishments confers
I happened to work in some amazing places and was fortunate perhaps that they had Michelin stars, I could have worked in only 3 star rated restaurants but I was looking to gain broad and varied experience. Michelin ratings acknowledge the highest levels of cuisine and service, but you could work in the top rated restaurants for several years and still you might be barely able to ‘cook yourself out of a paper bag’ so to speak. Some one once said to me " it's not what time you get here it's what you do when you’re here that counts"
(b) The pressures that it might entail
I suppose there is a certain " way " your supposed to cook, speak about food and so.
© The atmosphere in the kitchen when a person (if any) suspected to be a Michelin inspector was dining at any of the restaurants at which you worked
The atmosphere is maybe turned up a bit but you’re really already working to the best of your ability. There could be an extra eye over your work while your making the dish. The Chef checks everything meticulously and then re-checks just before sending but generally things are just about the same, they’re pretty good at keeping themselves ammonia
(d) Your thoughts on whether ratings (Michelin or otherwise) are overly simplistic
The question of Michelin star ratings, or any kind of ratings for any art form is always one that’s going to deliver a degree of controversy – as it cannot be quantified and to some extent will always relate to personal preference. In the UK Michelin stars were often referred to as ‘chefs accolades’ as their designation often contributed little to the restaurant’s financial success, whilst requiring a substantial outlay for consideration, but definitely delivered kudos to the chef. Sadly, I know of more than one restaurant /chef who achieved the status but whose restaurant subsequently failed to make ends meet.
(e) The ratings (apart from Vancouver Magazine's annual listing) diners living in Vancouver emphasise
The Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards have their flaws, but basically give good exposure to our city’s restaurants and provide a fairly accurate picture the dining scene here. The panel of twenty-five or so judges are all well known in their fields, as food and wine aficionados, but, as far as I can gather there is no set criteria for judging. The results simply portray a poll of their favourites, rather than an impartial and informative guide for the public. Anne Hardy’s ‘Where to Eat in Canada’ is published annually and incorporates some 500 restaurants across the country. All reviews are conducted anonymously and all meals are paid for – thus the guide portrays accurately what the general public can expect when they dine. Twenty-one restaurants in the guide have earned the highest three-star rating - yes we are one of them :^), fifty-seven have earned two stars and 105 have earned one. They also indicate further restaurants that are ‘good buys’ – it’s a pretty well rounded authority to dining in Canada.