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The power of Michelin - Merged topics


PaulaJ
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Amat is now the new chef at Bon in Paris.(G-M April 2002)

Patrice -- Thanks for the update. :wink:  Did the G-M souce indicate Amat is cooking regularly at BON? It may be the case that he is a consultant who provides direction on BON's menu. When I called the restaurant tonight (to obtain a reservation, which I am keeping for now), the receptionist responded that Amat is, sadly, not regularly cooking at BON. (Perhaps she had not received the good news?)

http://www.winespectator.com/Wine/Daily/Ne...45,1620,00.html

(February 2002 describing the Amat ouster; "For Amat, the bad news came on Feb. 20 in the form of a registered letter from partner Jean-Claude Borgel. 'Professionally, I am a dead man. I am 56 years old, and [borgel] has liquidated me.' . . . [borgel] has chosen Michel Portos, chef of Côté Théâtre, a one-star Michelin restaurant in Perpignan, to replace Amat. . . . In anticipation of trouble at St.-James, Amat became a consultant to restaurant Bon in Paris a few months ago.")

http://www.lemonde.fr/article/0,5987,3238--264378-,00.html

(February article in French also describing Amat as consultant)

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Patrice -- I'll investigate during an upcoming weekend, and report back. Thanks again for the update. Even if Amat only supervised the creation of the menu, BON would be an interesting place to visit.  :wink:

How are decorating and menu creation proceeding with respect to your restaurant? Have you decided on a name?  :wink:

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The name is chosen since quite a long time.  We've been working on our concept for over one year.  The decoration will be made by Jean-Pierre Viau, who has designed some of Montreal's best restaurants: Toqué!, Soto, Globe...

The menu will be in constant evolution, I really like to experiment, to try new things.  I really don't like routine.  The menu will go with the seasons.  It will be quite a short menu: 5 appetizers, 7 main courses, 5 desserts, plus a 5 courses degustation menu.

I already started to work on my summer desserts menu.

Patrice Demers

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Do you have the address of restaurant BON? And the

days it is closed. If Amat is either cooking or strongly influencing, I would indeed be interested in visiting.

Unfortunately, my upcoming trip to Paris places me

there on Sat-Sun, not the most propitious days to

dine.

 I will dine at Gerard Besson's....has anyone been there?

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  • 1 month later...
Finally, apart from Marenne oysters and chapons, I imagine there must be certain foodstuffs that are appropriate lead-ins to ortolans. I would appreciate any member input on what tastes might be appropriate for the build-up.  :wink:

Perhaps the below menu furnished too many surrounding items for the ortolan dish. However, members may find it interesting. It is the menu of June 7, 1867 regarding a lunch hosted by Napoleon III for Tsar Alexander II and Kaiser Wilhelm I. Joseph Wechsberg describes how this menu is framed at La Tour d'Argent in "Blue Trout and Black Truffles":

Hors d'Oeuvre

Potage Imperatrice

Souffle a la Reine

Releves

Filets de Sole a la Venitienne

Escalope de Turbot au Gratin

Selle de Mouton Puree Bretonne (lamb)

Entrees

Poulet a la Portugaise (chicken)

Pate Chaud de Cailles

Homards a la Parisienne (lobster)

Sorbets au Vin

Roties

Canetons a la Rouennaise (duckling)

**Ortolans sur Canape**

Entremets

Aubergines a l'Espagnole

Asperges en Branches

Cassolette Princesse

Bombe Glacee

The above was taken with: Madere Retour de l'Inde 1810; Xeres Retour de l'Inde 1821; d'Yquem 1847; Chambertin 1846; Margaux 1847; Lafite 1848; Champagne Roederer.  :wink:

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  • 2 weeks later...

In the new Saveur Magazine, there's a full page on Bon. They say that this trendy restaurant that served mediocre food has now greetly improve with J-M Amat. The new style of cuisine is describe as very surprising. The menu now consist of Amat creations. There's a picture of his tuna with coffee and peanut, a plate that I had the chance to taste last year at the ST-James.

Patrice Demers

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  • 1 year later...

Check out this interesting link (in French) :

Comment Michelin note les chefs

Edited by Bux (log)

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Final round as the fresh_a translation department.

+++

How Michelin rates chefs

Paris, 23 June (AFP). The head of the Michelin Guides, Derek Brown, has offered AFP several hints about the way in which the gastronomic guide rates chefs. Some of these were already well known, others less so.

The inspectors, for the most part men, number around 100 across Europe. Their number in any given country changes depending on the annual release date of an issue.

Their average age is 38 to 40 years, and nearly every one has graduated from a hotel management or cookery school. "These are people who are passionate and knowledgeable about cuisine and how to appreciate it. They visit all sorts of restaurants, and they rotate between regions to increase their objectivity." There are enough of them to visit even regions "not covered by other guides", says Brown.

When a new restaurant opens, an initial inspection decides whether it deserves to be in the Michelin guide. "We then return to evaluate the consistency of the dishes, the quality of the products, the mastery of cookery technique, combinations of taste, the originality of a plate or the treatment of a classic dish," says Derek Brown. After a period that could be as long as two years, both as a result of readers' letters and visits from inspectors, the first star can be awarded.

"After they have paid their bill -- which we require them to do -- the inspectors will sometimes make themselves known, in order to obtain further information," says Brown. "In that case, that particular inspector will not return for five years, in order to preserve his anonymity."

A change of chef or the absence of a chef on the day of a Michelin inspection makes no difference. "We judge inspiration. The rankings belong to the cuisine, not the chef. If the inspiration is there, there is no problem. If not, we draw our own conclusions."

"So that we can remain independent from external influence, there is no advertising in the guide. What's more, we never establish special relationships with the chefs. I turn down invitations to gala events at restauarants -- openings and the like."

"That said, I do speak a great deal to chefs, and I will meet with them if they ask for it. In these meetings, I let them know the overall shape of their file: the views from the inspectors' most recent visits, and what we are hearing from our readers."

Any transparency ends here. The indications given are very general, the deliberations around rankings secret, and there is little or no commentary on changes in star rankings from year to year. "Why would we need to provide that?" asks Brown. "Isn't the ranking itself enough?"

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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"After they have paid their bill -- which we require them to do -- the inspectors will sometimes make themselves known, in order to obtain further information," says Brown. "In that case, that particular inspector will not return for five years, in order to preserve his anonymity."

If the same people are working there 5 years later, why would they have necessarily forgotten what the Michelin inspector looks like?

Thanks for posting that interesting article. I admit I was too lazy to read the French yesterday. :raz:

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Perhaps the presumption (accurate in the case of London restaurants, at least) is that the same people are unlikely to be working front-of-house 5 years after an inspection.

From other interviews I've read, Michelin inspectors are extremely low-key and "ordinary" looking, and therefore have little difficulty maintaining their anonymity.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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I was going to translate, but unfortunatelty didn't have the time before Jonathan did!

Thanks!

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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  • 1 year later...

Almost on the same time as a very glossy and superficial magazine, called Les 3 étoiles, emerged, Jean-François Mesplède, journalist in Lyon of Progrès published an updated version of his Trois étoiles au Michelin. Une histoire de la haute gastronomie française et européenne. In 1998 he already published an earlier edition.

It is a simple book in a way: no recipes at all, only history about all the restaurants that were awarded three stars by Michelin. The last are in the book too. Focus is on France of course, because it took a long time before a restaurant outside France got three stars: 1972 (in France: 1933).

There are good entries, for example the chronology that learns that today there have never been so many great chefs as ever before: 49 of whom 22 are not based in France. On the contrary, the book shows that outside France, talent is getting more and more present then ever before.

The book is interesting, because it gives a good overview of 71 years of culinary history, and gives many illustrations. Worthwhile buying, in my view, for every one who is interested in culinary history.

Jean-François Mesplède, Trois étoiles au Michelin. Une histoire de la haute gastronomie française et européenne. Editions Gründ, avril 2004. 272 p., ill. 28,50 €. ISBN 2-7000-2468-0

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  • 4 years later...

This is an old topic but one which has relevance this week after the news stories, such as that in the IHT about the disappearance of the guy, Pascal Henry, a moto courrier who was going to eat his way through the 68 three stars of the world and quit at #40 El Bulli. Today's Le Monde had yet another article calling him a marathon man and mocking the whole business. Margaret Kemp in this week's Bonjour Paris offered him a free subscription if he'd come in from the cold. Slow news month I'd say.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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But they found him- at home in Geneva, no?

Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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But they found him- at home in Geneva, no?

Yes, the yellow-livered coyote (in every sense of the term).

To quote the Le Monde article:

Les critères permettant de classer les trois-étoiles au sein de notre galaxie sont donc très contestables. Qu'en sera-t-il demain pour Michelin avec les cuisines d'un autre champ gravitationnel, lorsqu'il faudra juger des cinq saveurs de la cuisine chinoise selon les principes du taoïsme et du confucianisme, ou bien arbitrer, en Inde, entre les six saveurs (rasa) de la pharmacopée ayurvédique ?

You know, not such a bad idea at all, the more I think about it.

Briefly Ribaut says "what will happen for Michelin in the near future, when they need to evaluate foods of another culture and will have to adopt the Taoist* Five Tastes system or the Ayurvedic Six Tastes (Rasa) system?"

IMO I'm positive that it would not be a worse evaluation system than the one they've been using, whatever that is. At least it would make sense.

That is the most sensible thing I have read from a French food critic in years.

(*) Leaving out Confucianism which has nothing to do with the taste theory.

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There are plenty of reasons to be in revolt against Michelin and also some reasons to praise them. But I don't think your isolated 1-star example is enough to accuse the whole system. There are loads of unstarred restaurants which are excellent and some starred places which serve bad food. But the older I grow, the less meaning I see in all of that.

You might want to read my latest blog post as an extension of our michelinesque meditations on this thread.

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Well, it wasn't just the one excample, it was based on three different restaurants with one star, plus my visit to chez Loiseau. Loiseau and La Cabro D'or were very, very good. The other two weren't very good at all. But in fact they were all the same, in an important way. The dishes, in conception, were all very much alike. The execution was better some places, but the food was all cut from the same cloth, and not in any noticeable way French. It's just like food I've eaten in Seattle and Vancouver, maybe executed with a little more finesse, and more gimickry, but it's all pretty generic. Don't you think the star system is at least partly to blame for that?

I'm working my way through your post, the French is still a little dense for me so it takes some time.

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But in fact they were all the same, in an important way.  The dishes, in conception, were all very much alike.  The execution was better some places, but the food was all cut from the same cloth, and not in any noticeable way French.  It's just like food I've eaten in Seattle and Vancouver, maybe executed with a little more finesse, and more gimickry, but it's all pretty generic.  Don't you think the star system is at least partly to blame for that?

Yes, indeed, and this is one of the things that can be said against the Michelin star system. Although I do not think Michelin is the only culprit, it has more to do with the new aspect of globalized, "developed" societies, and Michelin follows, confirms, solidifies, petrifies the process, being both a cause and a consequence. "High end" and shall I say "medium-end" dining has become, in most cases, stereotyped international cuisine and you rarely experience meals that could have been prepared only in the region they are served in. There no longer are any local ties or roots for any dishes, whether on a regional or even a national scale. When you get local preparations, they are made acceptable, sanitized for an international audience, therefore they are fake. You eat foie gras and girolles, pata negra, infuriating black venere risotto (will they please stop with that glop once and for all?), unnecessary caviar and Breton lobster all over the world. Now products may be local and proudly advertised as such. But locality in style and preparation has become ringard, i.e. shamefully obsolete, which IMO is a real problem. And plating looks the same all over the world. How come that no one (in my experience) stands up and says how boring this all ends up to be?

Edited by Ptipois (log)
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Yes, indeed, and this is one of the things that can be said against the Michelin star system. Although I do not think Michelin is the only culprit, it has more to do with the new aspect of globalized, "developed" societies, and Michelin follows, confirms, solidifies, petrifies the process, being both a cause and a consequence. "High end" and shall I say "medium-end" dining has become, in most cases, stereotyped international cuisine and you rarely experience meals that could have been prepared only in the region they are served in. There no longer are any local ties or roots for any dishes, whether on a regional or even a national scale. When you get local preparations, they are made acceptable, sanitized for an international audience, therefore they are fake. You eat foie gras and girolles, pata negra, infuriating black venere risotto (will they please stop with that glop once and for all?), unnecessary caviar and Breton lobster all over the world. Now products may be local and proudly advertised as such. But locality in style and preparation has become ringard, i.e. shamefully obsolete, which IMO is a real problem. And plating looks the same all over the world. How come that no one (in my experience) stands up and says how boring this all ends up to be?

Ahhh. Is this the reason that we so often feel more satisfied and inspired by a seemingly ordinary, modestly sourced and executed meal in the country, often at a private home, than in our targeted "name" restaurants? Sad, if so. Does someone need to get a clue?

eGullet member #80.

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Well, it wasn't just the one excample, it was based on three different restaurants with one star, plus my visit to chez Loiseau.  Loiseau and La Cabro D'or were very, very good. 

I wouldn't make such a hasty judgment based on such a small sample size. In my experience Michelin is a useful source of comparative information about restaurants, however I also usually try to research by cross referencing other sources in order to get as broad a perspective as possible.

Does Michelin drive chefs in a certain direction or do trends in food, or other famed chefs, drive them? I suspect the main influences on chefs are their peers in the industry, Michelin reflects the change rather than drives it. From my experience these trends are geographically constrained, yet influences do cross borders (after all chefs have passports).

Having eaten Michelin starred meals in the UK, Spain, and France over the last year, and good meals in Australia (they don't have Michelin) I felt that they all showed national characteristics and differences. I have seen a lot more diversity across Michelin restaurants than uniformity. OK I have seen trends in certain styles/types of restaurants, but as I try and eat in a broad spectrum of restaurants, this has not become an issue for me.

My guess Michelin stars will never be a good guide for basic, homestyle cooking. The Bibs are more useful for this. If I am looking for a cheap/rustic meal I would head for a Bib restaurant more than a starred one. That said I can quite easily cook basic food like galettes and cheeseburgers at home so I am less focussed on searching this type of food when I visit restaurants. If I, or my friends (to Margaret's point), can produce the food why pay a premium to enjoy it in a restaurant?

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