The talk in Paris and New York this week has been about the new 2011 Michelin guide. According to the food blog, Paris by Mouth, for the first time since 1992, there are no new three-star restaurants in France. The New York Times Diner’s Journal expresses it well: “In France, Michelin dims its galaxy of three-star restaurants.”
Michelin equates this to the shift towards value-oriented, bistro eating instead of the white tablecloths and silver service in the Michelin-starred world of haute gastronomy. Eater indicates that the new guide has more Bib Gourmand restaurants. These establishments focuses on a full meal that costs less than €35 (US$48) in Paris and €29 (US$40) in the rest of France.
New two-star restaurants in the guide include: Jean-François Piège at L’Hôtel Thoumieux (currently appearing on the French version of “Top Chef,” Jean-François Piège used to helm Les Ambassadeurs at Le Crillon); L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon-Étoile, and Passage 53, formerly decorated with one star.
Having dined at Robuchon’s in Las Vegas, it is easy to understand the Michelin Ratings. I’ve been fortunate to dine at 1, 2, and 3 Michelin star restaurants. They have all been a wonderful experience and taking part in such creativity, skill, service, and culinary talent provides unforgettable experiences.
My personal observation based on the U.S., attending Sirha and Bocuse d’Or in France, and just returning from Australia, is the one and two star as well as those just under the star rating that provide delicious, well-prepared, fresh food, will continue to grow and dominate the market. Naturally, I also feel the economy plays into this change.
On a recent trip to Lyon, Brenda and I had the pleasure of having two meals in 2 Michelin star establishments in two days. As much as we enjoyed both of them, and we thoroughly did, the next night in the little bouchon was equally as enjoyable with different expectations. There is room for every level of dining.