Let’s face it, for foodistas and gastronauts, it’s the build up, the speculation and gossip that’s almost as exciting as the awards each time a new guide is published.
Paul Bocuse has held *** for 50 years. Michel Guérard celebrates his 40th year of *** this week and is in Paris celebrating with the superstar chefs he’s formed including Alain Ducasse, Daniel Boulud, Michel Troisgros, Gérald Passédat, Arnaud Lallemand, Arnaud Donckele. With the launch of the 2017 red guide they are reflecting and saying a little prayer for the likes of Bernard Loiseau, Roger Vergé, Benôit Violier and Olivier Biles, Pierre Gagnaire’s talented sous chef, tragically killed January 7th on the road to Courchevel where he was to spend the winter season and the Hotel Barrière Les Neiges.
So, what’s the secret, chef Guérard, when the loss of a star can see takings drop by as much as 25%, according to The New Yorker? “There’s no secret, it a life of passion and dedication and I am lucky to have my wife Christine, our two daughters, our son-in-law together with a dedicated team we have at Eugénie-les-Bains. I’m proud to say we’ve trained generations of talented cooks, many of whom have had brilliant culinary careers,” he recalls.
Since they first published in 1900, Michelin Guides have continued to evolve using various key words and symbols to reflect different elements such as atmosphere and a grape motif to indicate a good or exceptional wine list.
Throughout the year, around 40 inspectors crisscross France (and the world) testing restaurants according to five criteria: product choice, creativity, mastery of cooking and flavors, value for money and regularity. They are anonymous and independent – each inspector testing maybe 240 annually and selected establishments are visited approximately every 18 months and can also be visited up to 12 times a year if necessary.
Michael Ellis, French/American Michelin International Director for Europe, Asia and the Americas, was recently awarded the Légion d’Honneur for services to gastronomy. He says the secret is team spirit. “We love to discover new themes – that’s what really motivates us to get up in the morning and go out there,” he says modestly.
And the worthy Paris winners are:
**La Table d’Espadon www.ritz.paris.com
**Le Clarence www.le-clarence.paris
*Les Jardins de l’Espadon www.ritzparis.com
*Restaurant du Palais Royal www.restaurantdupalaisroyal.com
*Sushi B www.sushi-b-fr.com
*Restaurant H www.restauranth.com
*Le George www.legeorge.com
*L’Archeste (formerly Hiramatsu) www.archeste.com
*La Scene Thélème www.lascenetheleme.fr
The 1-kg red tome has 2000 pages, 7584 Hotels & Restaurants, and a record number of 70 new stars for 2017, including 57 new one-star establishments – 12 new two-star and one new three-star – Yannick Alléno at Le 1947 au Cheval Blanc, Courchevel 1850.
Available to download and in librairies and kiosques from 15th February, 2017. Price: 24€90. Web: www.michelin.com