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Influential restaurant ranker Michelin released its annual New York City guide last week, and foodies are drooling over the list.But not everyone thinks the 112-year-old guide has been a positive force on the restaurant industry. In this month’s issue Vanity Fair critic A.A. Gill argues that the guide has actually led to the demise of French cuisine.
Because once Michelin’s “star” ranking system appeared, chefs stopped cooking for diners and started cooking for stars. And they built dining rooms specifically to attract the Michelin inspectors, resulting in overly expensive, overly complicated menus that all felt more or less the same.
The Michelin guide made kitchens as competitive as football teams, becoming the most successful and prestigious guidebook in the world, and along the way it killed the very thing it had set out to commend. It wasn’t the only assassin of the greatest national food ever conceived, but it’s not hyperbole to say Michelin was French haute cuisine’s Brutus.
Plus, chefs hate it. One told Gill that he dreaded the guide’s annual release because for a month after, his dining room would be packed with miserable, complaining patrons.
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