Do French use the “Guide Michelin”?

by Secret Foodie

To reach the stars and beyond.

Earnings  star Michelin is a life goal for many chefs, recognition of his pairs and a guarantee of a flourishing business. Years of hardship finally coming to fruition.

But is it really? What started as a Franco-French guide of restaurants to be tried while on a journey quickly became the bible of “The” restaurants and chefs to try in one’s lifetime.

Maker of king the Michelin guide ventured beyond the French boundaries in the search for other stars.

Facts:

  • Currently 1205 restaurants earn Michelin stars (from 1* great place to have a dinner to 3* you must take the journey to try this restaurant)
  • Michelin inspectors eat 250 meals a year and spend 160 nights in Hotels
  • Inspectors identity is better hid than Mi6 or CIA agents
  • Restaurants with stars are reviewed to check if they are still up to the job
  • Decorum and service doesn’t count toward the attribution of a star, only the quality of the food

Unfair competition

Since the early 21st century and the rise of internet and blogs all review companies have suffered from the bloggers and dematerialisation of the information, from 500 000 prints the little red book has dropped to 50 000.

Questionable sponsors and techniques damaging the credibility of impartiality

The biggest issue in the eye of French about the guide is the recent event that took place in the last few years.

  • Agrobusiness is actively sponsoring the Guide, companies such as Lacatalis (via President group), Valrhona and Nespresso, this is in direct conflict with the initial notion that Chefs should be promoting local producers and farmers, seasonal and fresh ingredients.
  • Countries have to pay to open a Michelin Branch in their country and depending on the countries the price will vary 2.5 Million $ for Croatia while 5 Million $ for Thailand.
  • Defecting inspector Pascal Remy revealing behind the scene agreements such at top ten restaurants never to be demoted or places that are not controlled as often as they should (5 guides to visit 10 000 restaurant in France only)
  • Since 2016 any restaurant can register itself online in the guide database for $70 regardless of their quality without being inspected
  • Chef giving up on their stars, on the Michelin PR view this is because it brought too much pressures on the chef (as it happened to Joel Robuchon in 1996), but recent chefs such as Sebastien Bras asked to be removed from the guide has it did not met its expectations

So in France where the guide was born a generational rift has appeared, first initiated by the Gault et Millau guide that is very Franco-French and more accessible as it offers a wide range of restaurants and shops to try the food from and of course internet and review companies such as trip advisor, google reviews, the fork (currently sponsor of the Michelin Guide). Upper class French will only rely on Michelin and seniors are very much used to it but younger generations rarely use it, the internet is the first indicator and of course word of mouth is priceless.

But while in Paris, our guides will be the best Ambassadors to French Gastronomy

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