Another top-rated chef has killed himself, and many others are deciding to shun the legendary Michelin star:
“But there is evidence that today’s chefs – who must often be top-flight, profit-making businessmen as well as culinary artists – are under particular strain. ‘What people don’t often see,’ the three-star chef Pierre Gagnaire, whose first Michelin-starred restaurant went bankrupt, said some years ago, ‘is that behind the facade of this profession [there] is suffering and downright exhaustion. We’re on a razor’s edge the whole time, because what we do is a combination of art and business.’
One Michelin star more (or less) is thought, in France, to be worth up to 25% of a restaurant’s turnover. But the strictures of the guide – sometimes seen as rewarding the frills more than the food, forcing restaurants to invest astronomical sums on decor, tableware and staff – impose their own pressures.
In 2005, Alain Senderens of the Lucas Carton in Paris, who had held three stars for 28 consecutive years, gave them up, saying he was fed up with the ‘indecent’ prices – ‘€300 or €400 in winter, when there are truffles’ – he had to charge, the ‘senseless race’ of the ratings, and the ‘fussy, over-complicated food’ he had to produce to satisfy the guides’ inspectors.”
As mentioned, I like food. But I’m also highly skeptical of that part of foodie culture that talks about is as “art” or a “total experience,” rather than stuff that you put in your mouth and enjoy. To wit:
In 2011, the Australian chef Skye Gyngell found just one Michelin star ‘a curse’ at the Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, west London. She said the award led customers to expect a fine dining experience that her restaurant, while serving great food, could not provide, and removed the star from her website.
To quote Grumpy Cat, good.