The Michelin Guides Reward 'Characterless Supra-national Beigeness'

The new Great Britain and Ireland Michelin Guides are coming out next week, and Tim Hayward, writing for the Guardian, takes issue. He calls the guides out on irrelevancy for failing to take local cuisines into account, instead rewarding "characterless supra-national beigeness at the expense of authenticity." Hayward writes:

The Michelin system judges food by a set of criteria that are irrelevant to most of us. Though they have tried to modernise and diversify, Michelin have evolved from judging everything by the standards of Parisian haute cuisine to judging them by their own set of rules, a French-inflected cuisine of the wealthy which transcends nationality simply by being identical wherever you go.

By rights, the Michelin system should only matter to those who travel with full wallets and without a sense of adventure but, sadly, the media loves a ranking system and so they are taken seriously outside this tiny group. It burns me royally whenever I read comparisons between London, Paris and New York as 'serious foodie cities' based on the number of Michelin stars. It's like judging the beauty of the population by the number of cosmetic surgeons ...

Furthermore, I think paying it any attention at all, outside of France, is the behaviour of a nation lacking culinary confidence.


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