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Predictions for France/Paris Michelin 2010?

Is it too soon to get the ball rolling on this? Are any strong rumours doing the rounds yet?

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  1. I'd be interested in an informal poll to learn how many of us rely on or even care awfully about Michelin's machinations. For me, their up and downticks are late and/or irrelevant compared to the collective experiences of active Chows and other internet sources.

    13 Replies
    1. re: mangeur

      I don(t think that's fair. We never heard of l'Arnsbourg before they got the third. In general, this still a pretty reliable guide when it comes to the stars. It's not an early trend spotter but that serves ego more than good food. Of course I disagree with some of their decisions (Piège, Ducasse, ZKG, Besson, La Grande Cascade, Senderens...) buut I take them very seriously.

      1. re: souphie

        Perhaps I can explain. Thirty years ago, I was totally dependent on Michelin and other travel guides. Twenty years ago, I began to make internet associations which let us exchange dining and lodging experiences. Ten years ago, I began to seek out the blogs of well traveled, bedded and fed people who's taste I have calibrated and appreciate. Souphie is in the upper 1% of these bloggers. I should be grateful for his serious consideration of current Michelin determinations. Yes, I am. Thanks, souphie. :)

        1. re: mangeur

          Thank you, Mangeur. And your point is well taken -- we have extraordinary resources with the Internet and we don't DEPEND on Michelin the way we used to.

          1. re: mangeur

            I find Michelin valuable and reliable especially in France. I also check recommendations from a variety of other sources to get a good feel for where I am going to. I believe that if you use Michelin intelligently then it is an essential source of information and opinion.

            It isn't 100% accurate, but nor are bloggers. It tries to standardise the assessment across a number of visits which to me is often far more accurate than relying on a bloggers single visits or trying to weigh up bloggers likes dislikes and dining experience/knowledge (IMO there are a number of bloggers who seem to have little experience or taste).

            The other advantage Michelin has, is that it is broad based, Chowhound in France is OK in Paris (although even we can get very narrow) but less good in other regions. Michelin is pretty strong everywhere in France and very valuable if you are heading away from the regular tourist haunts of Provence and Burgundy.

            I agree with Soup that Michelin may seem slow to spot early trends, and I think this is as he says: they look for consistent delivery not a flash in the pan. I find them quite quick to recognise genuine new talent, although like many I feel the "stickiness" of stars is a problem i.e. tricky to win, and then tricky to lose.

            So what is the gossip? Briffard for three? Ducasse to lose all his? Marchand and Delage to get their first?

            1. re: PhilD

              I haven't heard any gossip, and for this we can quietly trust François Simon, whose life revolves around having that kind of scoop (by the way, did you notice this demonstration of what an inept clown he is when it comes to food? http://francoissimon.typepad.fr/simon... ).

              That said, I would be very surprised if Ducasse lost anything -- that would be an indication of a major change inside Michelin. I'd also be surprised (and equally favorably) if Delage got a star. You could argue that he deserves it but then why not l'Ami Jean or even l'Ami Louis as well? Delage (Jadis) is arguably a more original cook, but still -- he might be in for a Bib Gourmand, though. As would Le Cristal de Sel, maybe.

              Also maybe Marx will get the third. They like to surprise.

              And I wouldn't be surprised to see Bourdas (SaQuaNa, Honfleur) elevated.

              As for Briffard, I'm too close to the restaurant to make forecast, but there's no doubt in my mind that 1-he deserves the third (and has been deserving it for ten years, as I think the Michelin people themselves recognise) and 2- that he's the rising star in town right now. The restaurant has been full at every meal for the last two months. Yesterday I had a pretty excellent tasting menu, by the way (truffle three ways, abalone and scallops three ways, pigeonneau and a surprisingly good Vienneta dessert.

              1. re: souphie

                Re: Simon
                This is both hilarious and sad. I can't even understand how that is not a joke... there's nothing in this video that is not laughable. Only problem is, it's dangerous as I imagine he's got a very large number of visitors, some of whom may not be aware of the inanity this "recipe" is.

                Re: Le Cinq
                IWent back for the second time in a one-month span the Friday just before Christmas holidays, and it raised two thoughts. First of all, I can only concur about Briffard deserving a third star. I also had the abalone/scallops dish that was fantastic, as well as the last pithiviers of the season. The problem was, if the restaurant gets its third star, I hope it doesn't become a victim of its own success. This last dinner we had there, the room was packed. They even added a few tables. The staff seemed a bit overwhelmed. There still was joy and laughter, but the front of house was less present. Also, the vegetables with the first service of the pithiviers were borderline cold. It was not a big problem, but slightly sub-par to what we had three weeks before, on a Friday night too, but with a room that was just "almost full". Oh and Thierry Hamon was not there, but hey, I guess those people are entitled to holidays too.

                1. re: olivierb

                  Tell them -- there's nothing like clients' feedback. Plus, as a now official regular, it's in your own interest.

                  1. re: souphie

                    I didn't think about doing so, as the evening was still enjoyable, but I had to contact them for something else, so I definitely will.
                    That said, I'm not sure 4 meals in 13 months makes me an "official regular" there, even if I wish I was!

              2. re: PhilD

                I'm hoping Lallement will get his 3rd. ;) but who knows?

                1. re: ChefJune

                  I'm hoping it too. But usually Michelin needs an excuse to change a rating -- something that changed or was confirmed. It does sound like Lallement has much news going lately.

          2. re: mangeur

            "Michelin's machinations"
            I think they're very good for addresses and closing days, like Zagat, and in the country, 50% reliable. Once upon a time, their agglomerations of towns were fabulously useful, but some genius in corporate nixed them. Like all print media (and I love print, having been a print editor for about half a century), they're essentially on life support. I'm afraid on this one I'm with Mange not Soup.

            1. re: John Talbott

              I am a sucker for the Bib Gourmand though, I think THAT is its best feature.

            2. re: mangeur

              The Michelin is not a restaurant guide as such but a travel guide, and the best at that... at least in France! It is aimed at finding a nice hotel in Vezoul or Chamalieres or wherever, with a reasonable restaurant nearby. Try asking this to your Blackberry or Ipod whilst on the road.
              The arguments about who deserves how many stars are completely irrelevant except for the restaurateur himself and a few foodies (just looking on this blog at the different opinions about all 3 Stars restaurant proves that not everybody has the same taste, which is fortunate). But IMHO there is no need to buy the Michelin guide to check on Ferran Adria or Bocuse.
              Wherever I travel, I use the Michelin of that country as a base, then might check on Chow / Trip Adbvisor, etc. for confirmation & news.
              An additional thought: If the Michelin guide is so bad (and I understand from Mangeur, even biaised) , why does everybody takes it so seriously and go and buy it?

              1. re: John Talbott

                I agree souphie, i don't always agree with michelin's decisions, particularly living here in the uk, where they seem reluctant to elevate restaurants through the star rankings as swiftly as they do at 'home'. how marcus wareing / petrus (whatever you want to call it) stayed on a single star for the best part of 5 years is beyond me.

                i also agree john, it probably is on borrowed time in its print guise. however, props to them for the viamichelin internet search. it's really easy to use and gives immediate access to all the information you get from the guide itself. perhaps this will flip to a subscription service; the classic model of build-up a user-base, get them hooked and then monetise? i wouldn't blame them. i also note they charged for an iphone app' version for the first time this year. i know neither is print, but better to have it than not at all, god forbid!

                however, back to the matter at hand, i must give france its due. the overall experience i've had in grand dining rooms there, when done properly, is without peer. i didn't want to believe it for a long time, but in my opinion they do offer the best overall experience and, at the top end, think michelin gets it right more often than not, so is a good reference tool if looking for that kind of meal.

                i'm also keen to see if they're going to react to their own tokyo guide and restore paris' crown of most 3-stars in a single city... i wouldn't be surprised if they try to at least put it on level pegging.

                finally, there's always individual territory hype around the release of a guide, but let's be honest, it still isn't treated with the same reverence in the rest of the world and, as such, always makes the domestic release the most fun to follow.

              2. The original comment has been removed
                1. OK. Today's JdD had an article by Amanda Sthers that posited some predictions/hopes/fantasies that included Yam'Tcha's getting a star, along with PSG winning a game. So make of it what you wish.

                  1. Here they come, starting with France Soir: l'Auberge du Vieux Puits in Fonjoncouse for the third, SaQuaNa and Bigarrade for the second, YamTcha and Roellinger's coquillage for the first.
                    Source: http://www.francesoir.fr/consommation...

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: souphie

                      La Bigarade with two- huh?? Anyway like my friend Alex C. says, "Who care's what the Michelin guide says".

                      1. re: adrian

                        No disagreement with you on that my friend and after two straight blahs in bistrots Pudlo named "of the Year" and "coup de coeur" I'm taking a sabbatical from him too.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          That's different. Michelin is conservative and sometimes at a loss. Pudlo is plain corrupt.