Vanity Fair : Au revoir Michelin … La fin d’une époque ?

Par le blog des Chefs Pourcel

Un article édifiant sur le guide Michelin son histoire et son influence, son évolution, sortira le mois prochain sur le célèbre magazine américain Vanity Fair qui appartient au groupe Conde Nast ( Vogue, GQ, Glamour, AD… ).

Vanity Fair conjugue dans un style sophistiqué de l’actualité, des portraits fouillés de personnalités, du show-biz et de la politique, et de la mode. Ce magazine haut de gamme sortira prochainement en France mensuellement avec à sa tête une des stars de la chaîne Canal+ – Michel Denisot -.

En attendant, on se demande si cet article a été motivé par la sortie du Guide Michelin New York 2013 il y a quelques jours ? . Nous n’avons pas les informations pour l’affirmer, quoi qu’il en soit cet article commence à faire du bruit dans les marmites Outre-Atlantique. Nous vous laissons entreprendre sa lecture, où sa traduction, plein de subtilités, il éclaire sur pas mal d’aspects de l’évolution de la planète » Bouffe « . C’est le critique gastronomique AA Gill qui en est l’auteur pour lui : » le guide Michelin est totalement déconnecté de la réalité » … à vous de juger …

Michelin, Get Out of the Kitchen !

FOOD – November 2012

Just over a century ago, two French tire manufacturers created the Michelin guide. According to the author, it has blighted the lives of chefs from Brooklyn to Bombay, while spawning legions of checklist gourmands.

STAR-CROSSED The Michelin guide helped elevate chefs from being mere cooks into celebrities.

Alittle more than a hundred years ago, a pair of brothers invented the food guide. It was an inadvertent invention. What they thought they’d done was compile a directory of places in France where you could grab a baguette and a bed for the night while some rural blacksmith or farrier tried to mend your broken-down Boitel, Motobloc, Otto, or Lacoste & Battmann. The brothers, Édouard and André Michelin, made pneumatic tires and were staring down the road at the biggest blue-sky start-up industry of the new century.

The Michelin guide turned out to be prescient and inspired. This motoring thing wasn’t going to be about what you went in but where you went to. The guide quickly became not an emergency manual but a destination invitation. They added a star system—one, two, or three stars—and a hieroglyphic lexicon to show you where you could eat on a terrace, take your dog, or make a phone call.

The Michelin guide made kitchens as competitive as football teams, becoming the most successful and prestigious guidebook in the world, and along the way it killed the very thing it had set out to commend. It wasn’t the only assassin of the greatest national food ever conceived, but it’s not hyperbole to say Michelin was French haute cuisine’s Brutus.

Chefs are strange creatures; their trade is more of a calling, a vocation, than a career. They start young; the training is hard, the hours long, the pay meager. Chefs work when others are having fun. They don’t have real friends. Their mar­riages don’t work; their children don’t like them. And no one ever invites a chef round for dinner. But the Michelin guide took them seriously, showed them respect.

Craving the love and the approbation of a stern parent, chefs yearned for the Michelin stars. This wasn’t business; this was personal. They stopped cooking for dumb, annoying customers and began making food for invisible, mercurial, undercover inspectors. Chefs invested everything in building dining rooms that would attract Mama and Papa Michelin. They worried to the point of breakdown and suicide about how to keep the love.

The Michelin guide also created a new type of customer, the foodie trainspotter, people who aren’t out for a good meal with friends but want to tick a cultural box and have bragging rights on some rare effete spirit. Michelin-starred restaurants began to look and taste the same: the service would be cloying and oleaginous, the menus vast and clotted with verbiage. The room would be hushed, the atmosphere religious. The food would be complicated beyond appetite. And it would all be ridiculously expensive. So, Michelin spawned restaurants that were based on no regional heritage or ingredient but grew out of cooks’ abused vanity, insecurity, and fawning hunger for compliments.

Being French, of course the guide has always been the subject of conspiracy theories regarding the allocation of stars, the number of inspectors, and their quality and disinterest. Having made the hierarchy of chefs, the guide found that it was in its interest to maintain it. A handful of grand and gluttonous kitchens seemed to keep their rating long after their fashion and food faded. Michelin evolved from the wandering Candide of food to become the creeping Richelieu: manipulative, obsessive, and secretive.

You think three-star food is expensive, but it’s nothing compared with compiling the world’s most famous guide. Michelin doesn’t say how many inspectors it has, what it pays them, how often they visit each establishment—they claim at least once a year—or what their expenses are like, but you do the math. Consider how many more restaurants there are now than there were 30 years ago. It’s a very, very expensive production. When the occasional ex-inspector goes public, there are stories of exhausting and unsustainable lives on the road, covering vast areas where the pleasure of food is made a relentless and lonely craft. There are admissions that many dining rooms are not revisited year after year.

But still, Michelin has launched in a number of foreign countries. And though it claims its standards are universal and unimpeachable, it proves how Francophile and bloated and snobbish the whole business really is and that, far from being a lingua franca, the food on our plate is as varied as any other aspect of a national culture. For instance, Italy has absurdly few three-star restaurants, apparently because the criteria of complexity and presentation aren’t up to Michelin—French—standards, and the marvelously rich and varied curries of India plainly seem to baffle the guide. The city with the most stars is Tokyo, but then, many of its restaurants have barely a handful of chairs, and most benefit from the Gallic reverence for O.C.D. saucing and solitary boy’s knife skills. In both London and New York, the guide appears to be wholly out of touch with the way people actually eat, still being most comfortable rewarding fat, conservative, fussy rooms that use expensive ingredients with ingratiating pomp to serve glossy plutocrats and their speechless rental dates.

The New York guide has also swapped the dry information of the original for short, purple reviews. Food writing is already the recidivist culprit of multiple sins against both language and digestion, but the little encomiums of the Michelin guide effortlessly lick the bottom of the descriptive swill bucket. Take this, for instance, but only if you have a paper bag close at hand: “Can something be too perfect? Can its focus be so singular, pleasure so complete, and technique so flawless that creativity suffers? Per Se proves that this fear is unfounded.” That was written in chocolate saliva. Or this: “Devout foodies are quieting their delirium of joy at having scored a reservation—everyone and everything here is living up to the honor of adoring this extraordinary restaurant … Uni with truffle-oil gelée and brioche expresses the regret that we have but three stars to give.” That’s not a review of Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare—it’s a handjob.

This sort of hideously embarrassing faux grandiloquence makes you seriously wonder about the inspectors. The anonymity that was so obsessively preserved as a proof of impartiality is also the sad hiding place of craven hobbyists and amateur wannabes. The Internet has made anonymity a suspect of grubby trolls and smitten stalkers; we no longer trust secrecy to be in our best interests. It’s no accident that the legacy of 100 years of Michelin is not just an emaciated, inhospitable French table but the legion of score-settling adjective junkies populating unreadable Internet blogs. Nerds who photograph their lunch and use food as a bedroom metaphor for feelings and a simile for friends.

Michelin still holds a withered widow’s grip on the aspirations of cooks. Few will criticize the guide publicly. Privately, there are many who despair of its limited scope, its snobbery, its fatty favorites. Off the rec­ord, one starred chef told me that he dreaded its annual publication not because he might lose his stat­us but because for the next month the booking would be full of customers with faces like smacked bottoms who complained about everything. He says the temperature in the dining room drops until you can almost see your own breath. Michelin has produced a legion of miserable gourmands, people who care more about the valet parking than conviviality—which I suppose was rather the point in the first place.

Share
This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Vanity Fair : Au revoir Michelin … La fin d’une époque ?

  1. Villers says:

    Je suis complètement d’accord!!! Je le dis depuis des années!!

  2. Appreciate relates to the occupied priority of the one’s life additionally , the development of truley what most people really enjoy. code reduc la redoute http://www.b44.fr/sac-c-19.html/

  3. I love you not as a what you do, except as a just who Now i am photographs am together with. [url=http://www.nikerow.com/]Jordan Retro 11[/url] Jordan Retro 11

  4. You shouldn’t discuss about it your trusty delight to one less privileged over your true self. [url=http://www.ruenike.com/casquette-c-7.html/]Destockage vetement[/url] Destockage vetement

  5. akb48 says:

    Excellent blog right here! Additionally your website rather a lot up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link in your host? I wish my site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  6. Simply want to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is just cool and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

  7. Thanks a lot for providing individuals with a very superb possiblity to read in detail from this web site. It is usually so brilliant and also full of fun for me personally and my office acquaintances to visit the blog the equivalent of three times in 7 days to see the newest items you have. And lastly, I’m also certainly impressed concerning the perfect tactics served by you. Selected 4 areas in this posting are undeniably the most suitable we’ve had.

  8. Iˇll right away grasp your rss as I can’t find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please permit me realize so that I may subscribe. Thanks.

    • Hello there, just was alert to your weblog through Google, and located that it is truly informative. I’m going to be careful for brussels. I will appreciate should you proceed this in future. Lots of folks will likely be benefited out of your writing. Cheers!

  9. Hello there! I simply wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I am coming back to your blog for more soon.

  10. Fake Oakleys says:

    These are in fact wonderful ideas in about blogging. You have touched some pleasant points here. Any way keep up wrinting.

  11. Greetings from Idaho! I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the info you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyways, wonderful blog!

  12. Julien41 says:

    Salutation =), Je souhaiterais créer un magazine pour ma société mais j’ai peur de me faire avoir. Des potes ont collaboré avec profil design qui est justement spécialisé dans les magazine Ipad et me recommande grandement cette boite. Sur leur site je ne vois pas leur réalisation donc je souhaiterais avoir votre « expertise » pour poser les bonnes question si je les contactes. Étant donné que c’est la première fois que je fais réaliser un magazine est ce qu’il y a des pièges à se mefier ? j’avoue que c’est encore vague pour moi et cela a un coût ça serait cool de pas gaspiller d’argent. Merci d’avance =)

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse de messagerie ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

Vous pouvez utiliser ces balises et attributs HTML : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>