It’s the business. I understand the music but not the lyrics. Michelin has decided to distribute its stars in a year so gray and cloudy for restaurants that being honored and alone would justify any leave. Given the circumstances, the logical thing would be to refrain from merits and demerits. But no, the French red guide, showing frivolity against what it normally presumes in terms of inspection, has decided to pull down the middle street until it sinks into incongruity. It is true that not much has moved in its sky, three new two stars, the occasional drop due to closure and a few more unstarred ones, along with the incipient bib gourmand and the green ones that are released, a category of the most dispensable for its obvious absence of content. He praises the chef’s supposed commitment to nature and sustainability while distinguishing two dozen establishments specifically for it. What is it, the rest of the award-winning chefs are not committed to nature or the so-called zero kilometer product?
In short, small change: which clearly indicates that a new publication was not necessary in 2021. Those who buy the guide, I suppose it will be on sale already, have every right to feel ripped off. In a year of pandemic, who can believe, except for the undeniable merit of having resisted adverse circumstances, the culinary merit of a chef? What inspections may have occurred when restaurants have been closed most of the time? Many restaurants remain closed since the beginning of the confinement in March, but they maintain their distinction from previous years with the sole requirement of having previously communicated to the guide that they will open in the future.
Unfortunately, the happiness that we do not have of being able to enjoy a good meal in our favorite dining rooms is something that a guide dedicated to rating restaurants cannot gastronomically judge. I would never have believed that Michelin, a serious enough publication that acts as a world reference, could fall into that error. And it has obviously done so for the commercial interests that it entails. Surely someone among those who plan or direct it has thought about the possibility of the sabbatical year, but if so, the idea has not come to fruition. There will be a red guide 2021 that will reflect what never happened in restaurantism in this country. Anyone who wants to continue to believe, from now on, that all this responds to a serious attempt to analyze the cuisine that is made in Spanish and Portuguese restaurants will be within their rights, but they are committing a sin of naivety.
Now we go to the substrate, the Michelin Guide, with the passage of time it has turned its extremely powerful loudspeaker into an oiled machine with universal income; It not only influences its thousands of readers but also the chefs and restaurants of the planet who have had to submit to its culinary yoke to aspire to some of the coveted stars that it distributes around the world. Sometimes I think of how gratifying it is for the fan of eating well, doing it in a good restaurant that defends itself on its own, apart from all this farfolla of distinctions. And how proud a good cook or restaurant owner must feel who has a loyal clientele who feed them well without being subject to a yoke. Fortunately we all know more than one.
In any case, going back, the kitchen has been harmed and the diners affected by the French absolutist trend, the hateful and boring standardization with endless menus and colorful presentations that often disguise the product but favor the work of the new chefs more concerned with the outlay and the image that delves into their stews. The fashionable formula is the association in the plate of ingredients that have nothing to do with each other but that are pretty and serve to illustrate the blogs and share the demanded emotional impact on social networks. The least thing is that the food tastes like something and keeps a certain coherence in relation to the product, the season or the place. It is not strange to us that haute cuisine aims to attract an audience happy to be able to hook up with it occasionally and show off their experience, as if the simple act of eating, in addition to the need and pleasure, were an especially stimulating adventure worth being counted. To this high component of presumptuous banality the Guide Rouge has contributed efficiently and capriciously. Theirs is a tyranny that responds primarily to profitability. Of all, that goal is the most reasonable. There is no guide that does not aspire to occupy a preponderant commercial position, all seek to expand their businesses and their influence. But this time Michelin has crashed into the very inconvenience that marks the pandemic.