Former chief-inspector slashes Michelin
Inspectors of the prestigious Michelin guide are under pressure from the marketing department to hand out stars. By creating exitement around new stars Michelin hopes to sell more guides. Michelin also has too few inspectors to carefully inspect all hotels and restaurants in the Michelin guide. These statements are made by former Michelin chief-inspector Paul van Cranenbroeck in his book 'The Magic behind the Michelin star', to be released next week. The 66-year old Belgian worked for Michelin for 22 years, of which 18 as chief-inspector Benelux. As such he was responsible for awarding the much-coveted stars to restaurants in the Netherlands and Belgium. Posted 12-09-2011
Michelin is governed by French chauvenism and nepotism, Van Cranenbroeck says. Inspectors protect their chef-friends. He describes how inspectors leave a French top restaurant through a guard of honour of chefs. The former chief-inspector, who retired in 2005, is very critical about the management in Paris. He accuses his former bosses of being incompetent, conservative and bureaucratic, with very little time for their employees. Van Cranenbroeck: "I have encountered many more careerists than gourmets".
In his book Van Cranenbroeck lifts the veil of mystery of Michelin. He writes that the Benelux guides with more than 3,000 hotels and restaurants are made by only 3 inspectors. They are so well-known that Michelin's famous anonimity is a fairytale, Van Cranenbroeck says. Van Cranenbroeck: "A restaurateur would have to be incredibly stupid". Inspectors have so little time that they visit most restaurants only once every 2 years. They have no time whatsoever for discovering new restaurants. According to Van Cranenbroeck falling sales of the red guides put inspectors under pressure to create news. "Add a star, take one away, create excitement".
The Netherlands got their first three star restaurant, Parkheuvel in Rotterdam in 2002, under Van Cranenbroeck's aegis. Actually he had wanted to award Librije in Zwolle a third star in that same year. "But Paris wouldn't hear of it". The required quality level for a Michelin star in the Netherlands and Belgium is much higher than in France, Van Cranenbroeck claims, who was once presented with rotten fish in a French two star restaurant. "Apparently it hadn't been inspected for a while".
Source: De Volkskrant - translated by Elizabeth Auerbach
Let me get this straight. This guy worked as the chief inspector for 18 years, therefore he oversaw, or tolerated corruption for that long? What exactly did the inspectors get from the chefs? Free food? They get that anyway.
Posted by: Gary | 17/09/2011 18:04:05Comment:
I am relieved and delighted that someone from within Michelin is finally coming out with the truth. Michelin is brilliant at rating quality but unfortunately almost 90 % of establishments and chefs have established relationships with their local inspector and these inspectors only "inspect" restaurants with chefs with a Michelin background. The "old boy network" favouritism and nepotism all rife in the
very corrupt non anonymous guide. This however does not mean the fantastic chefs are not well deserving of their stars but new chefs and extra or less stars are often never followed through.
Posted by: Stosie Madi | 12/09/2011 13:45:55Comment:
Interesting piece but I just wonder if he had anything to do with awarding the bib gourmand to Ostend Queen restaurant before it had even opened in 2005
Posted by: The Chef Hermes Blog | 12/09/2011 17:05:31Comment:
I whole heartedly agree: http://thathungrychef.com/2011/09/12/can-fabes-barcelona/
Michelin really is falling and fading, whilst it's bloggers that are helping people eat at the best places, not Michelin
Posted by: That Hungry Chef | 12/09/2011 23:35:06Comment:
This has all been said before in L'inspecteur se met a table by Pascal Remy ISBN 2-84990-006-0,who gave 15 years service to Michelin.It was while on Derek Browns watch that this expose was dealt with the first time, as also was the death of Chef Loiseau which was another botched Michelin cover up!
We Chefs give Michelin far too much respect I feel,I too have been guilty of it in the past.
However lets accept it the Guide sales 45'000 copies in the UK and I have never met anybody outside the industry who has a copy for its actual purpose. Nepotism, sure, of course you all new that, didn't you? Michelin France is masonic, just quiz Robuchon and Ducasse? Lets celebrate all those star hungry Chefs, lets let these Chefs get on with the emptiness of it all, lets wish them well and let them endorse products they do not really care for while reeling in the cash, lets wish that the Michelin treadmill improves there cooking and not there egos?
Posted by: Moist Napkin | 26/01/2013 15:59:51Comment:
@Moist Napkin: Maybe you should take this up with Michelin or Paul van Cranenbroeck, the author of the book.
Posted by: Elizabeth Auerbach | 26/01/2013 21:26:25
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