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GaultMillau 2003, the results


Patrice
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For the first time in his history, the GaultMillau guide gave this year a pecfect note of 20/20 to a chef...Marc Veyrat.

Other restaurants that got promoted are:

L'Arpège 19 ( 17 last year)

Côte ST-Jacques 19

Then, the losers:

from 19 to 17

Loiseau

Taillevent

Pyramide

from19 to 18

Grand Véfour

Blanc

Meneau

Patrice Demers

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How much of an influence did Alain Passard's move towards a more vegetable oriented gastronomy have

on his restaurant's promotion...?

I say vegetable oriented for fear of saying the dreaded " V...an" word.

Any insight from anyone...Patrice maybe...?

Michel

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It's appropriate that Arpege's 19 has been *reinstated*. I believe the restaurant was, at earlier points in time, at 19.

That Veyrat is at 20 leads me to subjectively accord less weight to G-M recommendations in the future.

It is terrible Lucas-Carton is still underrated the way it is in the G-M. I also believe a demotion of Taillevent around the transition period from Del Burgo was premature.

Who is chef of the year?

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Sorry Cabrales, I forgot the chef of the year.

I think you will agree with this one: Michel Troigros!!! :smile:

I strongly agree. :laugh::laugh:

On Cotes St-Jacques, I would frame the question as perceived resurgence. Although I have not dined there meaningful, the dishes I have received there were very good even post-Michelin-demotion. :wink:

chopper -- The 2002 G-M already reflected the move itself to a vegetables-based cuisine.

Edited by cabrales (log)
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Cabby, aren't all ratings perceptions of the organization of person doing the rating? I don't know why La Cote St. Jacques left us a little cool. I wouldn't argue the two stars Michelin awards, but coming between Gagnaire in Paris and Hotel du Lion d'Or and Domaine des Hauts de Loire in the Loire, it was the least satisfying of the four. Still an exceptional restaurant just not a 19 in my humble opinion based on a single meal.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

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Well Mr. Gault was booted out in the mid 80s and then he embarked on the ultimate journey. Mr. Millau joined him 2 or 3 years ago. Gault published a book, called "mes 50 Meilleurs restaurants de France" in 86 and he expressed a radically different set of preferences compared to the publication which carried its name. At any rate I respected them in the past when they were a progressive force, promoting an unknown Girardet. But please forgive the political analogy, the G-M now is as close to the original, as the Kennedy adm. to 1960 is to the Bush adm. in terms of humanitarian concerns. For some people this is a plus; for others it is a minus.

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The earliest GaultMillau guide I have around is from 1987. It has ads. I don't think it ever quote rivaled Michelin in importance and it's certainly not at its peak. It still seems to be about the second most referred to guide for restaurants in France. Even those who don't use it will often note that a restaurant got two stars from Michelin and a 17 from GM. Someone posted recently that the GaultMillau magazine had published its last issue and is now gone. That has led to rumors of the demise of the guide.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I think that the Gault Millau guide has actually improved since Christian Millau was forced out in a notorious scandal. As noted, Gault was forced out some years earlier in a power struggle. Millau was using and abusing his position in ways that make Tim Zagat's apparent transgressions minor by comparison. He would approach a restaurant that he was considering for promotion to 19.5 and in order to get the rating, they would have to hold a free dinner for him and his friends, in large number, costing the restaurant many thousands of dollars. However, once done, he was not in a postion to reduce the rating, so a large number of restaurants eventually collected at 19.5, diluting the ratings, and destroying their credibility. The new management has been much more professional, and siginficantly pruned out the deadwood and the top GM rating, which has been 19 until apparently this year, has been more rigorously applied than Michelin's 3 stars. GM can be quite interesting, however, they don't have the resources of Michelin, probably can't cover individual restaurants as completely or frequently, so there are anomalies that can creep in.

With regard to Veyrat, I am at a disadvantage never having eaten at the restaurant. However, I would comment that as much as we may love French food and restaurants, we are not French and do approach it with a foreign sensibility. Also, many posters do not appear to like where Veyrat is with his cuisine today. However, my reading of the French food press, which is anecdotal rather than systematic, leads me to believe that the French consider Veyrat to be the most important chef working in France today.

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A constant refrain from Gault and Millau in their heyday was that 19 (and then 19.5)

was their highest rating because "perfection is not of this world." My best guess is that the Guide feels that Spain is threatening France as today's most exciting country for innovation in haute cuisine, so they give an unprecedented rating to the French chef who cooks most in the style of Adria. GaultMillau is exhibiting a typically French mind-set if you think hard about it.

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My guess is that rather than being a shot fired in an intergalactic culinary battle between France and Spain, it is more likely a "bold" marketing move from a company that is in financial difficulty. Awarding a 20 will probably gain them additional press coverage, hype, and differentiation from their archrival Michelin, which has to be their real focus. I suspect that they are doing it with real regret, because they probably don't believe in giving 20s, but feel that they have no choice under the circumstances. They couldn't just go to 19.5 as they have been there before and it would be viewed as same old, same old.

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Yes I will go with the Marcus theory on this one, although there has to be some level of Spanish-phobia going on for them too. But I think they knew how much publicity this would get them. Problem is, I don't think the aggregate of opinions out there support this type of conclusion. More then half the people I speak to do not enjoy, or at least don't think the food is that special, at Veyrat's place. So they are either going to be able to make credible sounding statements that support the promotion, or they will look like they were trying to get publicity. From that one Times article, I don't think they look bad at all.

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I'll line up behind those who feel the 20 may have been awarded with a mind towards garnering publicity. It is almost as if Michelin announced there would be a restaurant that earned an unprecedented fourth star--if Michelin was number two. :biggrin:

I haven't been at Veyrat recently and can't comment on the style of the food currently served, but I don't see how a fear of Spain is driving GaultMillau. Either they approve of Veyrat's style or they feel it is controversial enough to help with the publicity. That it may be influenced by what's happening in Catalonia or the Basque region would only lend credence to a recognition that Spain is a great influence and not that they fear that influence, in my mind.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Yes but, a perfect score leaves no room for improvement. The inference it draws is that there can be no better restaurant in the world. That half point left an ambiguity that people could extend out as far as they could. Now a restaurant like El Bulli can only be as good as Veyrat. But it can't be better. That can't be an accident.

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My guess is that next year's guide will have additional 20/20s so that Gault-Millau will have an absolute top ranking; same as Michelin's three stars, which also do not leave room for improvement. All the chefs with 19's could not be too happy about this, either. To me it's another manifestation of the chauvinism that runs rampant in France and which we are seeing in other, more significant forums.

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What appears to be an award based on the best moment rather than an overall operation is peculiar for such a guide book.

Steve P., I understand your point. When Michelin awards it's top honors--three stars--it's saying a restaurant is in the top class of all restaurants. GaultMillau has never awarded anyone a 20 before and has gone on record stating the 19.5 listings were unwise. So you are correct, when they say 20, they are implying not just the top class, but the best possible ever, even in the future.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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From the CBS NEWS report on the death of Loiseau

Loiseau did lose two points, going from 19 to 17, in the 20-point rating system of the GaultMillau. That guide has gained in prestige and power in recent years.

Is CBS off the wall, misinformed, or ahead of the curve on this. The guide may have regained in recent years some of what it lost since it's best days, but can it acurately be described as having gained in prestige and power in recent years? How often is tv news accurate.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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