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Michelin stars-what do they mean?


Book Reviewer
Similar experience in Belgium - I had a lovely steak avec Bearnaise sauce. A number of the lads who thought that bifteck a l'Americaine was a burger got a suprise...I did warn them....

Mind you I did spot two of the guys from SHQ and several of the new lads shovelling down plates of escargots cooked with white wine, cream and garlic... they certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves :)
TBF, it is a burger, just an uncooked burger judging by that picture.
Was it not another award he was rumoured to be about to lose not a star?

The loss of a "toque" by Gault & Millau was confirmed and the loss of a star by Michelin was feared. The pressure was too much and he took his own life before what he thought was the utter shame of losing a Michelin star.
The Michelin Man is a warning - you end up looking like that if you summon the chef and say the food tastes of rubber!

I always wondered if it was the name of a renowned chef, but it makes sense that a type company produced or sponsored a guide of places worth diving to. A bit like hotels and guest houses getting AA stars I suppose.

AA rosettes.

Edit: Yeah, I know I've been wah'd.
What’s the penalty for falsely claiming to have a star, or more stars than awarded? Is this “policed”, does it happen?
I think that the circumstances also impinge on the eating experience. In Anthony Bourdain's 'A cook's tour' he mentions this aspect of eating at the end.

Consider an egg banjo on RAOC bread with marge and OMD 80 thumbprint at rainy o'clock on radio stag. Now imagine the same food at a starred restaurant by the beach in the south of France.

I'd say that a Michelin star is a very good indicator of what to expect but I still fail to see how a star can be spread to a franchise. I remember reading an article, possibly Punch where various celebrity restaurants were visited and the staff asked if the named chef was in and if not when they'd last been there. The answers were not encouraging.

Gordon Ramsey has around 45 eateries spread all over the world. Heston Blumenthal 5 (plus closing down twice after norovirus outbreaks 2009 and 2014 in two different locations*).

Both good chefs but spreading themselves so thin that, like homeopathic remedies, only the memory of their efficacy can be present.

*I have no idea if that affected his ratings.

Not true. It means that they, in charge, have selected the best team they can, who are capable of running the best restaurants.

Ramsey is kicking the arrse out of it though
Things are always pretentious in French.

Creme anglais - IT’S CUSTARD FFS?

They even kick the arse out of the potato - pomme de terre - Apple of the earth, why can’t they just say potatoè (haw hee haw hee haw)?
Chips are "patates frites", but potatoes are like you say "pommes de terre".

My favourite chip stand when I want a serving of artery-hardener.
I have eaten in a few really good resturants. No Michelin Star carriers that I can remember though.

2 come to mind though:
The French Horn in Sonning which is pretty good. Great service and setting and the food is usually very good, however my last visit, I had Fillet of beef with foie gras and the beef was good, but not melt in your mouth tender. And at just over £300 for a meal for two, I expect and have had better in the past.

And then there is the Green Man in Clophill, in which I have had the best fillet of beef several times over. Always perfectly cooked, always tender and with a sauce that makes you feel like weeping when you have finished the meal.
The chef is an old Italian guy who apparently learnt his trade in Paris and 'retired' over here.
The service is very good with an enthusiastic an very professional floor manager and staff and they also know how to serve ameretto how I like it, warmed over hot water.

A lot cheaper than the afformentioned French Horn, and I would choose the Green Man any time. Sadly I now live 70 miles away.


Not true. It means that they, in charge, have selected the best team they can, who are capable of running the best restaurants.

Ramsey is kicking the arrse out of it though

That does rather suggest that the star, awarded to the chef in question, for their culinary abilities morphs into a star for their organisational skills.

Even then though how often is a restaurant bearing their name actually seen by them? Let alone run for a day by them to check on the team they've selected.

I'm not trying to belittle the achievement or the standard of the restaurants. They speak for themselves.
I've been very fortunate in my career in purchasing to have been entertained by lots of suppliers who, wanting to impress, have taken me to very good restaurants in many different countries. The best thing, even better than the food & wine, was that I didn't pay!!
One of my very early experiences of a 1* was in the S. of France, where a g/f had a holiday apartment in Juan-les-Pins. There was a great beach restaurant with a 1 star. We went there almost every day for a long boozy lunch. It wasn't, as seemingly many of the "in" places are now, pretentious, just very good, well cooked food! The Cotelette D'agneau aux Armandes were to die for. They were small & perfectly cooked, you wanted to pick them up and crunch the bones to continue to enjoy the flavour when the meat had gone.
I asked the chef how he got them so flavoursome, he dismissed the British lamb as being kept until it was a small sheep, you must eat the lamb when it is young to get this flavour! To this day I have never seen lamb chops in the UK as small as his were!
I think as others have said, there seems to be a trend in some of the so called posh restaurants for food to be tarted up in minute portions with fancy veg shapes, rather than plain well cooked food in adequate portions. Totally unnecessary in my opinion!!

We recently had some freelance bloke contact us trying to blag a 3 night all inclusive stay for him, his missus and kids, dog and mother in law. We hadn’t even heard of the magazines he claimed to write for.
I have an Arrse account and a few Facebook groups, I'm sure that if you give me a free long weekend accompanied by steak & wine that I might manage to get you the possibility of one customer to think about making a booking.
A Michelin star is a true badge of honour for a restaurant.

It also gives them the excuse to charge another 40 quid per dish.

My old man won the lottery in 1998 and was invited to one of the Camelot reunions for previous winners a few years later. The next day before heading home, him and his fiancee went to a Michelin restaurant near Covent Garden. He ordered lobster and his fiancee ordered the steak at £85. Eventually the steak was brought out, roughly the size of a small rump and she waited... And waited... After about five minutes she collared the waiter asking where her vegetables were.

"Vegetables? They're an extra £12.00 madam."

Extra for vegetables & other sides isn't necessarily a Michelin / fine dining thing - just London eating.
Hence my mates confusion on ordering a meal plus chips, to receive burger & chips & chips



Extra for vegetables & other sides isn't necessarily a Michelin / fine dining thing - just London eating.
Hence my mates confusion on ordering a meal plus chips, to receive burger & chips & chips

View attachment 466427

Yeah but the point I was making was that £85 for steak, you'd expect it to come with vegetables.


Book Reviewer
Yeah but the point I was making was that £85 for steak, you'd expect it to come with vegetables.
It did, You!


The main thing with us is that we’re still a family business. This was my missus’s home. As such we want it to be great for our families and elderly relatives too.

You’re just about exactly halfway from here to where senior son is when he’s in the UK. If we ever get to the end of the current upset, and we’re not all bankrupt by then, and if I ever get to retire and afford to replace the ancient Volvo … lot of ‘ifs’ there … to make up for being done out of this summer’s garden party with HMQ I think I should take both sons somewhere for a weekend in celebration of my minor appearance in NYH.

If it ever happens I will PM you and hope you can come and say Hi (as mentioned on a different thread, your persec can be cracked in about 5 minutes …)
I have been to a few Michelin starred restaurants (always on the company coin). The Pre Catalan in Paris (3*), River Cafe (1*) and a few others in Paris, Las Vegas and London.

Fantastic places but rarely among my favourite "meals out/dining experience".

For example: Been to the Aureole in Vegas. Brilliant (especially on the wine front) but I much preferred the Stripsteak which is also in the Mandalay Hotel.

The Pre Catalan was stunning although I would have been stunned had I got the bill. I never minded stumping up for decent scoff but the Frogs have elevated taking the piss to an art form. On the other hand some of my best ever meals have been in France at slightly more pocket-friendly prices.

Even Parisian three stars can cock it up occasionally. Jay Rayner caused a shitstorm in France when he poo-pooed Le Cinq (3*):

Went to a starred restaurant in Madrid (never ask your clients "where shall we go to celebrate") but my favourite restaurant there is easily the Casa Botin (for food, ambience, waiters, history and even the - normally hugely annoying - medieval minstrels from the university who go around poncing cash from diners. No stars but baby eels and suckling pig/lamb.

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